By Malaysiakini

The police have arrested the Bar Council Human Rights Committee chairperson Edmund Bon allegedly for preventing local authorities from performing their duty in removing banners outside the lawyers’ headquarters.

Eyewitnesses said that lawyer Edmund was arrested at about 12.45pm for blocking Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officials from removing human rights banners outside the Malaysian Bar building in Leboh Pasar Besar in Kuala Lumpur.

The Bar Council is holding its “Festival of Rights” in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day at its own building after police insisted that organisers apply for a permit to hold the event at the nearby Central Market.

In conjunction with its festival, the Council had put up banners and posters on the event at a booth located outside its building and around its premises.

At noon, DBKL officers arrived saying that the banners and placards had to be removed because no local authority’s permit had been issued.

Bon tried to explain to them the banners and placards were on private property and asked the DBKL officers whether they had a warrant to enter the premises.

Edmund was arrested by the police while trying to deter the DBKL officers from removing the banners.

Cops spooking the crowd

He has been taken to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters for questioning. The organisers have also accused the police of intimidating the crowd that has gathered to celebrate the human rights festival.

It is learnt that the police would be holding Edmund overnight before charging him at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrates’ Court tomorrow. It is uncertain as to what charge would be preferred against him.

Earlier today, eight others — including five lawyers — were arrested for taking part in a march in conjunction with the Human Rghts Day celebrations. They are also being investigated at the KL police headquarters. They too are expected to be charged with participating in an illegal assembly tomorrow.

The police had also demanded that the Bar Council apply for a permit to hold the march. This forced the Council to call off the procession but a number of lawyers decided to proceed with their own march.

The Bar Council has organised the annual Human Rights Day march in previous years without encountering any problems from the police.