Johor cops refute viral ‘solidarity assembly’ video for arrested Parit Raja protesters

JOHOR BARU: The police have denied that an assembly was held in Batu Pahat to show solidarity for those arrested for a rioting incident in the district recently.

Batu Pahat OCPD ACP Ismail Dollah said that a video, showing a group of young men on motorcycles gathering near a petrol station, has been making rounds on social media.

“A tweet by Twitter user ‘Zack Rockstar’ has gone viral where he said that the men in the videos are showing solidarity to their friends who have been arrested.

“The user also posted a video, which he claims to be the solidarity assembly that took place at Parit Botak in Batu Pahat.

“Batu Pahat police deny the existence of such an assembly. We have been monitoring the area and found no such assembly happening throughout Friday (May 14), ” he said in a statement here on Saturday (May 15).

He added that the video was believed to have been recorded on Thursday (May 13) at around 5pm to 7pm, before any arrest was made.

“We urge the public not to make any speculation that could threaten public harmony, ” he said, adding that investigation is still ongoing.

It was earlier reported that a total of 20 individuals have been arrested by the police to assist in investigations into a riot on the first day of Hari Raya.

In a statement earlier, ACP Ismail said that the police received an alert from the public at 11.04am on Thursday (May 13) that a banner criticising the government was spotted on a bridge at Jalan Parit Raja heading to Ayer Hitam.

“However, when the police visited to the location, we found that it had been taken down.

“Not long after that, police received a report about a video of a rally, lighting up of flares and raising of a banner which did not comply with the set standard operating procedures.

“Initial investigation found that the incident occurred in Parit Raja and it is believed that the banner raised during the rally is the same banner that was spotted on the bridge, ” he said.

He said the incident was believed to have occurred at around 2am on Thursday (May 13) and that about 40 individuals are believed to be involved.

Johor Pakatan Harapan claimed the riot was a manifestation of Malaysians' despair towards the government.

"Johor Pakatan leaders visited three families whose children were remanded following the Parit Raja incident.

"We view the incident as a manifestation of Malaysians' despair towards the governments' handling of issues faced by the country, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The people continue to be pressured with the high cost of living while double standards on the implementation of policies challenges their economic survival," said Johor Pakatan in a statement on Saturday.

The statement was signed by state Pakatan chairman and Johor Parti Amanah Negara chairman Aminolhuda Hassan, state PKR chief Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh and Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong.

Johor Pakatan also urged the government to immediately reconvene Parliament and the Johor state assembly so that issues and policies could be debated.

"At the same time, Johor Pakatan would also like to offer legal services on a pro-bono basis for those arrested following the incident," added the statement.

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