Water cannon fired at protestors outside US embassy
Susan Loone and Leong Kar Yen

3:30pm, Fri: updated version Riot police sprayed chemical-laced water at about 2,500 PAS supporters who had gathered at the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon to hand in a memorandum to protest the American attacks in Afghanistan.

The crowd had gathered outside the embassy gates at about 2pm, shouting anti-US slogans and crying out the Muslim call “Allah-hu akbar” (God is great).

PAS central committee member Dr Mohd Hatta Mohd Ramli and Kuala Kedah member of Parliament Mohamad Sabu were present to control the mostly Muslim men, who had walked over to the embassy after performing their Friday prayers at the neighbouring mosques.

Around 200 officers were deployed, including the Federal Reserve Unit which came in two trucks. Two water cannon trucks were present.

However, the peaceful gathering was broken up about 20 minutes later when some protestors started to lay down their mats and party flags to pray.

Deputy City Police Chief Dell Akbar Khan later told reporters that he ordered the crowd to disperse when some of the demonstrators began praying the “Solat Hajat”.

“We have allowed many groups to come and hand in memo since Sept 11 but we made it clear that there should not be any demonstrations or special prayers.

“The leaders who organised this protest today also agreed to this and made an announcement not to have these special prayers but there was a miscommunication and one group started to pray.

“That’s why I ordered chemical-laced water to be sprayed,” Dell said.

Dell also expressed concern that the demonstration may cause a massive jam on Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur and create more confusion.

“This is a busy road and they would have been obstructing traffic and there are even three mosques about 100m away,” he added.

Some demonstrators later dispersed to the nearby Bangunan Tabung Haji, with others milling about the British High Commission.

Stop strikes

Earlier, before police broke up the crowd, a delegation of PAS leaders who call themselves the Ad-Hoc Committee Against Terrorism managed to enter the embassy to submit the protest memorandum.

Led by PAS president Fadzil Noor, deputy president Abdul Hadi Awang and spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, they demanded that the US stop its military strikes in Afghanistan and abandon any intention to attack other nations under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

PAS also wants the US to review its foreign policy and refrain from dealing with other countries on hegemonic terms “dictating to the world what is right and what is wrong in its role as the world policeman”.

In the memorandum endorsed by PAS, Persatuan Ulama Malaysia and Jamaah Islah Malaysia, Fadzil said despite the plea from all communities the world over, the US and its allies have undertaken it upon themselves to combat terrorism with another act of terror.

“Two wrongs certainly do not result in one right,” said Fadzil, who is also the parliamentary opposition leader.

“We expect the US as the sole economic and military superpower in the world to set an example by committing itself to establishing and preserving justice, equality, rule of law and creating a harmonious environment,” he added.

'Compelling evidence'

Meanwhile the US embassy said in a statement that during the meeting with the PAS representatives, acting political counsellor W Gary Gray spoke about various matters relating to the Sept 11 attacks and as well as the retaliatory attacks against the terrorist hubs in Afghanistan.

“In the case of the Sept 11 attacks, the US has compelling evidence of the responsibility of Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qa’eda organisation, which is supported by the Taliban regime,” said the statement.

“We have shared this information with a number of governments, including Malaysia’s. . .many governments have said that they have accepted the validity of the evidence.”

The embassy also stressed that the Sept 11 terrorist attacks were not just against America as citizens from about 80 countries, including Malaysia, were killed.

“A significant number of Muslims, Jews, Christians and Hindus died in the World Trade Center attacks in New York.”

The statement also said that the PAS delegates were told that the attacks in Afghanistan were not directed against Islam or the people of Afghanistan.

Last modified:Friday October 12, 7:48 pm