IPOH: This usually quiet city saw chaos for most of the day as traffic jams choked major streets and police arrested 69 people, including 10 Opposition MPs and assemblymen.
Most of them were nabbed for disobeying a court order not to gather within a 500m radius of the State Secretariat.
All the politicians were released on police bail later except for Batu MP Tian Chua, who has yet to have his statement recorded.
Despite the court order, a number of people managed to squeeze through barbed wire fences and police barricades.
Tension heightened early when PKR Wanita chief and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin was arrested and several supporters tried to force their way into the State Secretariat at 8.30am.
This was followed by the arrest of three men wearing “Kembalikan Hak Rakyat” t-shirts after a fight.
Later, another scuffle broke out 200m outside the building when police stopped a vehicle carrying Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang, Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran, his political secretary P. Sugumaran and Teluk Intan MP M. Manogaran.
A quarrel ensued when Sugumaran got off from the vehicle and asked Ipoh OCPD Asst Comm Azisman Alias why they were not allowed in despite having invitations.
ACP Azisman retorted: “I do not want to explain anything to you. You can sue me in court.”
When the group refused to budge, ACP Azisman shouted “Tangkap Sugu! (Arrest Sugu).”
Others arrested included PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub, Sungai Siput MP M. Jeyakumar, former Perak DAP chief Lau Dak Kee, Teratai assemblyman Jenice Lee and Parit Buntar MP Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.
Thirteen of those arrested for trespassing were released at about 2.30pm.
PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu, who was arrested on Wednesday, was freed yesterday.
The Perak drama began early when PAS supporters held a sembahyang hajat before the subuh prayers. Several Federal Reserve Unit trucks were stationed about 100m from the surau. More than 100 people turned up at Surau Al-Ikhlasiahin Kampung Manjoi Baru at 5.30am.
Perak PAS Youth chief Nor Azli Musa led the prayers, praying that the Perak state assembly would be dissolved.
Police seized about 200 t-shirts printed with the words “One Black Malaysia” which were sold at a stall next to the surau. They also picked up the two stall owners for questioning.
Stall assistant Aman Omar, 29, who was not detained, said they had only managed to sell one t-shirt priced at RM15 before the rest of the stock was seized.
“The shirts were printed just yesterday (Wednesday). We came all the way from Seremban and only managed to sell one t-shirt,” he moaned.
Aman, who was also wearing the same t-shirt, was told by the police to take it off. But his t-shirt was not seized.
While roads leading to the State Secretariat were closed, a bumper-to-bumper crawl at Jalan Silibin, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Jalan Raja Musa Aziz, Jalan Leong Boon Swee and Jalan Sultan Yusuf lasted several hours.
Impatient motorists swore at traffic policemen; others honked to let off steam.
Outside Grand View Hotel, a crowd gathered to watch Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen departing for the assembly at 8am under the watchful eyes of the police.
At one point, the police told coffeeshop owners around the vicinity to shut for the day, as crowds had gathered there. But the request was ignored.
There was a brief period of lull until about 4pm when Tian walked near the gate of the State Secretariat.
He was advised to leave by Ipoh CID chief Deputy Superintendent S. Glenn Anthony but the PKR leader explained that he was waiting to receive Pakatan assemblymen when they came out of the building.
After an exchange of words, Tian was arrested. State officials and assemblymen started to leave the building after 4pm.
Deputy Speaker Hee Yit Foong left with two bodyguards at about 4.35pm while fellow independents Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Mohd Osman Jailu left 10 minutes later
Former Speaker V. Sivakumar left in the Speaker’s official car at 5pm followed by former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.
In PENANG, a Suaram member was detained for taking part in an illegal assembly in front of Dewan Sri Pinang over the Perak imbroglio last night.
Ng Eng Kiat, 25, who was the emcee, had earlier used a hailer to introduce speakers in the candlelight vigil which was attended by some 60 people.
In PETALING JAYA, the DAP Socialist Youth condemned the police for arresting its leaders and members, who had not participated in any gatherings but were merely wearing black.
“What offence did they commit? Is wearing black a criminal offence?” executive secretary Lim Zhen Hui asked.
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