At 2.36am, in the early hours of April 19, the student and Occupy Dataran encampment in Kuala Lumpur was violently ambushed by a big group of men. After the ambush, everyone sat down, and victims of violence started to tell stories of what happened. Here is a brief summary of the stories.
Everything started at 2.36am. A group of people on motorbikes rode in and parked. They walked towards the field and started shouting. From the fountain, another group of people came and started pulling and breaking tents, which were occupied by people fast asleep. There were about 60 people from this aggressive group. There were around 40-50 people who were part of the encampment, both students and non-students.
In one incident, a woman in one of the tents was violently attacked — her head was kicked while she was still in the tent. They also shouted while hitting her tent.
They kicked a few tents and shouted at people to get out. A few people (non-students) were dragged from the edge of the camp to the field and beaten up. One guy was held in a chokehold and made to surrender his camera. He was dragged away.
One woman was holding a camera, and they pulled her bag, took her camera and smashed it onto the ground.
Another woman who was walking back to the camp from the direction of the fountain took out her camera and started filming. Around 15 people surrounded her and one man snatched her camera. They shouted and pushed her to the ground until she let go of her camera. After she got up, another man pulled her bag and pushed her around.
One man followed behind the police and started filming. His camera was snatched and stamped on.
One man was in a tent, opened it, heard people shouting and managed to get out of the tent before they pulled the tent down. He sat at the mats with a few people and the attackers started provoking them to get a reaction. They dragged another man off the mat and beat him up.
The attackers threw food around, destroyed all the tents and took the donation boxes.
One man was dragged to the street and beaten up by five people because he had a camera in his bag.
One woman was picked on and called a lesbian.
About 5 police cars came — but they did nothing.
One man wearing a kopiah was slapped twice. When he asked what was happening, he was beaten, called pukimak and was taunted that he would never get into heaven.
One guy tried to take a photo with his iPad, and they hit him and tried to take his iPad.
A few people saw a man in plainclothes carrying a revolver. We could not ascertain whether he was a Special Branch officer.
A man identified one of the individuals in the attacking group as a member of United Malays National Organisation Youth [which is part of the Barisan Nasional coalition that rules Malaysia].
After the ambush, campers cleaned up the place. We collectively decided that we would not be intimidated by the violence and that we would sit peacefully to defend Dataran Merdeka as the people’s square, and our right to occupy it peacefully.