Not The New Straits Times

April 2000

Published twice monthly


Thousands run riot in Kuala Lumpur

US criticises police crackdown on demos

Police recover lethal weapon from Reformasi supporter

Opticians donate glasses to NUJ

Human Rights Commission not an April Fool joke

Mahahtir's call to restore democracy not an April Fool joke

Malaysia in danger of losing world record

Melaka Wall to prevent entry of 'bad influences'

Singapore apology media reports

Philippines rejects hostage rescue plan

Foreign Ministry denies G77 rumour

UMNO sends fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe

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. Thousands run riot in KL
Fears that the first anniversary of the sentencing of Anwar Ibrahim on April 14 would spark violence came true when Kuala Lumpur was swarmed by thousands of violent rioters in green uniforms and red helmets, armed with batons, tear gas, automatic rifles, sub-machine guns and water cannon. The rioters attacked hundreds of people praying in the National Mosque with water cannons, before descending in waves upon Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman to baton-charge hundreds of peaceful pro-Reformasi shoppers.

Hundreds of the red-helmeted rioters were seen gathering at other strategic parts of the city such as Dataran Merdeka and Central Market, assembling illegally in red trucks and shouting abusive slogans at innocent passer-by, such as "Bersurai! Bersurai!". and "Balik! Balik!"

It is understood that two separate groups of rioters - calling themselves the Federal Reserve Unit and the General Operations Force - took part in the day's gatherings. Many of the rioters were also seen at road blocks, bus stands, railway terminals and LRT stations, pointing automatic rifles at frightened commuters to prevent other groups of demonstrators from disrupting their rioting.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had earlier this month warned Malaysians that rioters would hold gatherings "aimed at commemorating something or other".

Rioters were armed with water cannons,
tear gas, batons and automatic rifles

"We are commemorating a significant event that occurred exactly one year ago to this day," said one of the uniformed rioters as he was wiping some blood off his boots with a prayer mat in the main hall of the National Mosque. "Exactly one year ago, we were allowed to roam the streets and beat the crap out of anyone we saw. Today, we want to beat the crap out of some more people."

"The Constitution says we have the right to gather and it is a basic human right," said a group of rioters on Jalan TAR as they fired dozens of rounds of tear gas into a passing schoolbus. "We are just exercising that right," stressed one of them, as he clubbed a 60-year old lady with his baton.

A nearby group of red-helmeted rioters who were playing football with a student denied that their actions amounted to aggravated assault. "No, this is just simple assault. And the most we can get imprisoned for it is two months," they explained.

US criticises crackdown on demonstrators

More civilised riot control methods in the US
A US State Department spokesman who refused to be named criticised Malaysia's crackdown on demonstrators this month, describing tough police actions as "preventing its citizens from exercising free speech and peaceful assembly"

"The US demands that the Malaysian government allow its citizens to exercise their universally recognised rights to free speech and assembly," he said. "Errr … as long as it does not involve the WTO or IMF, of course, now that's a different story altogether….. "

He also criticised police handling of demonstrators. "We have seen CNN footage of dozens of Malaysian riot policemen kicking young students to the ground mercilessly until they are unrecognisable. The pain inflicted is unnaturally cruel and barbaric. In the United States, we do it the civilised way - we just shoot the bastards dead. Especially if they're black."