The police are accused of using brutality in dispersing students who had gathered to demand academic freedom.
PETALING JAYA: Student activists saw an ominous start to the new year when about 100 of them were violently dispersed by the police for staging a peaceful assembly in front of the Universiti Perguruan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Tanjung Malim early this morning.
The students had started gathering since 12.30am to demand for academic freedom and to protest against the Universities and University Colleges Act. They had also wanted the UPSI to drop charges against student leader Adam Adli.
Adam, an UPSI student, has been charged with disciplinary action by the university for replacing a flag depicting the Prime Minister’s face with a banner proclaiming academic freedom two weeks ago.
The police, with the participation of the Federal Reserve Units, made their move to disperse the students at about 2.30am, in the process arresting at least 17 students, including Adam Adli.
The students had earlier lied down on the road when the police made their move to disperse the protesting crowd.
Two of the students were arrested while making a police report, and one for shouting at the police to release the arrested students. The arrested students are all being held at the Tanjung Malim police station.
They were all released by 4pm today.
Students also claimed that the police acted in a brutal manner in dispersing them, as a result causing injuries to some students.
Some eye-witnesses said that one student, Muhammad Safwan Anang, was allegedly assaulted by at least eight police personnel.
Muhammad Safwan, a student leader, had been admitted to the Slim River Hospital in a serious condition, including suffering from a broken cheekbone.
Calls for release The police came under severe condemnation for the heavy tactics against the students.
Lawyers For Liberty’s Fadiah Nadwa Fikri said the police had unlawfully used excessive force against peaceful and unarmed students.
She urged the authorities to immediately release the arrested students and take action against the police officers who had been involved in using excessive force against the students.
Meanwhile PKR’s communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad also criticised the police over their actions.
“This violence makes a mockery of the Prime Minister’s Malaysia Day speech and so-called Transformation Agenda,” he said, referrring to Najib Tun Razak’s promise of political reforms.
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