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Monday January 2, 2012
By STEVEN DANIEL and IVAN LOH firstname.lastname@example.org
KUALA LUMPUR: The police broke up a New Year's Day protest outside Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Tanjung Malim, Perak, and picked up 17 students.
Among those arrested was Adam Adli Abdul Halim, the student who brought down a flag bearing an image of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak outside the Putra World Trade Centre last month.
By 4.30pm yesterday, all 17 students had been released from police custody.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar denied claims that police used force to break up the gathering, saying his men acted with restraint and in a professional manner.
“My men did not abuse or act harshly when approaching the students. The students injured in the incident were likely to have suffered upon charging at the glass door of a clinic there,” he told The Star.
In the 1am incident yesterday, about 80 students protested at the university gates, allegedly for academic freedom.
The protest, which started on Saturday night, was organised by the so-called Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia, an unregistered group, to call for an end to the Universities and University Colleges Act.
The students, aged 19 to 24, also called on the UPSI authorities not to take action against Adam Adli.
Police said among those arrested, only Adam Adli and a female student were from UPSI. The others were from other universities.
Ismail said the police had repeatedly ordered the noisy crowd to disperse but the students continued to defy instructions.
In TANJUNG MALIM, Perak police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan also denied claims in certain blogs that police had beaten up some students.
“There was no scuffle. We took the necessary action to uphold public safety.
“We gave them 30 minutes to disperse but our instructions went unheeded and we were forced to move in to arrest them,” he told reporters.
DCP Mohd Shukri said police came to know about the illegal gathering from websites and sent about 60 policemen to monitor the situation from as early as 5pm on Saturday.
“There was no sign of any activity until 1am on New Year's Day,” he said, adding that it started with a group of seven students and swelled to about 70 within a short time.
“They shouted and carried banners and some laid on the road, obstructing traffic.”
He said among the students arrested were those from Universiti Selangor (Unisel), the International Islamic University of Malaysia (UIA) and the Management and Science University (MSU).
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein denied claims on Twitter that there was police brutality, saying they were untrue.
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