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No freedom of assembly for green protestors?

green rally 091011 press conference story imageBersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan has described police move to revoke the permit for this morning’s “Green Solidarity 109″ rally as “bullying” from Kuala Lumpur.
“What that looked like to me was to bully and to intimidate,” said Ambiga during a post-rally press conference at a restaurant in Kuantan at noon.

The rally’s permit was abruptly witihdrawn last night and local council authorities moved in immediately to dismantle the rally’s makeshift tents and stage.

To the organisers’ surprise, the exact same spot was replaced with new tents in the morning for a purported government-sponsored event.

“Now, you be the judge. Why is this happening?” asked Ambiga in reference to the uncanny conincidence of the two events.

109 kuantan green solidarity 091011 29While commending the police for being reasonable at the rally, she said that it was still “unacceptable” for the authorities to deliberately create inconveniences for a peaceful assembly.

Human rights group Suaram director Kua Kia Soong pointed out that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had once again contradicted his promise for civil liberties reform with today’s episode.

kua kia soong“If you promise to amend Section 27 of the Police Act to allow freedom of assembly, then what happened last night and today should not be happening,” Kua (right) said.

The rally this morning saw some 2,000-strong participants gather on the beach of Taman Gelora, Kuantan, but the event – an assembly of environmental and community organisations – was cut short when police moved in to prevent its speakers from speaking.

Today’s rally brought together several green groups whose local communities are afflicted by threats to their immediate environment, namely groups opposed to the Lynas rare earth refinery plant, the Rawang high tension cable construction and Raub gold mining operations.

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