April 19, 2012
Hooligans at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
A group of unknown assailants attacked the students occupying Dataran Merdeka in the wee hours of the morning today, beating up several of them, with one ending up in hospital.
The assailants, many clad in black shirts, destroyed all the tents erected last Saturday at the iconic public square in the city centre.
Malaysian Youth and Students Movement (Dema) coordinator Heng Kiah Chun told Malaysiakini that the incident took place about 2.45am and lasted around 15 minutes.
He said between 50 to 70 thugs encircled the students at the camp site, before provoking and beating them up.
They roughed up a number of students and dismantled all their 10 tents which were set up as part of the push for free education.
Cameras, mobile phones damaged
According to Heng, the students remained calm and refused to react to the provocation.However, attempts to document the attack through cameras, camcorders and handphones apparently angered their attackers, who destroyed some of the recording devices.
Heng added that there were about a dozen police officers in the area but none of them did anything until the students’ leaders pleaded for help.
The thugs left the area when the police came in, and eyewitnesses said one or two of the perpetrators were arrested.
The 100-odd students who are campaigning for the abolition of PTPTN (National Higher Education Loan Fund) nevertheless appeared unfazed by the incident.
They held an impromptu meeting and voted to stay put at Dataran Merdeka.
“We will protect one another. We want action against the gangsterism,” they said.
A police report will be lodged later today.