Dozens arrested in Malaysia protests
Malaysian police forces have arrested dozens of protesters who staged a demonstration in the capital Kuala Lumpur against the controversial "detention without trial" law.
The protest, which took place late on Sunday at several locations nationwide, was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Internal Security Act (ISA), which has been denounced by human rights groups as a ploy to silence and persecute the opposition figures in the country, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Protesters held a candlelight vigil in the capital calling on the government to scrap the law on the grounds that its usage is by no means necessary nearly half a century after it was enacted to combat the armed insurgency of the Malayan Communist Party.
Meanwhile, anti-riot policemen and plainclothes officers faced-off with the protesters, arresting several people for what has been called as participating in an "illegal assembly".
Police forces stormed a shopping mall in which protesters had sheltered.
"This could have been a peaceful protest... it's going to make Malaysia more of a police state," Rights group Suaram director Kua Kia Soong argued.
The Malaysian government has brushed aside concerns put forward by the rights activists and opposition politicians, saying the law is crucial for maintaining national security.
The Internal Security Act is a preventive detention law, which was enacted after Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957.
The ISA allows for detention without trial or criminal charges under limited, legally defined circumstances.
There are currently 1,200 people detained without trial in Malaysia, the Press TV correspondent said.