Black Flag Movement ‘shocked’ by swift police retribution over protest

The members of the organization, Mohammad Alshatri (left), leaving the Dang Wangi police station on Sunday after being summoned over the anti-government demonstration at Merdeka Square on Saturday. Photo: Amirx abd hadi/Twitter
The members of the organization, Mohammad Alshatri (left), leaving the Dang Wangi police station on Sunday after being summoned over the anti-government demonstration at Merdeka Square on Saturday. Photo: Amirx abd hadi/Twitter

Protesters who joined a weekend anti-government rally said yesterday they were “shocked” by the police response, accusing them of practicing a double standard.

A member of the Black Flag Movement, which is demanding the PM step down for mismanaging the pandemic response, along with the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance said that by issuing fines within hours of Saturday’s protest, the police applied a different standard than in similar cases involving ministers and other VIPs. 

Three people from the organization were each fined RM2,000 (US$475) Sunday, less than 24 hours after their protest against the Perikatan National government’s management of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has led the government to ban all assemblies.

“Immediately after questioning, they issued the compound fine of RM2,000,” one protester, Mohammad Alshatri, told Free Malaysia Today, sentiments later echoed by the opposition youth-led alliance, aka MUDA, said the same in a statement.

The protester said police questioned them three hours Sunday morning at the Dang Wangi District Police Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, adding that “We were shocked to receive an immediate notice of fine as this was not the case with VIPs who openly flouted the COVID-19 SOPs.”

He was one of about 40 people who waved black flags and raised a banner reading #Keluardanlawan” (“come out and fight”) on Saturday at Merdeka Square. They also laid out several prop “corpses” before dispersing peacefully after reading out a statement. 

Mohammad noted that similar complaints against members of the status quo took “weeks or months” before any action was taken. Nonetheless, he insisted that those who turned up in Merdeka Square followed physical distancing rules, wore two masks and protective clothing such as overalls to prevent the spread of the virus. 

MUDA in a statement yesterday said it took weeks for police to penalize Kedah’s chief minister for a test drive he took during the movement control order. It further said Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa’s case was referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers while another group of politicians got off free despite holding a durian party during the lockdown.

The party also voiced support for the protesters’ demands the prime minister resign, parliament meet in full, and all loans forgiven.

Saturday’s protest was organized by Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (People’s Solidarity Secretariat, roughly) which is a coalition of political parties including MUDA, Pejuang, Amanah, and the People’s Justice Party. 

Other stories: 

Khairy Jamaluddin admits ministers ruining credibility of Malaysia’s lockdown: Report

Malaysians hit out at ‘useless’ Azmin Ali on Austrian minister’s social media post

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