But it needs not be like that.
Today’s Anti-ISA demonstration should have been allowed to take place, since it is supposed to be a peaceful march from Dataran Merdeka to the Istana Negara to hand over a memorandum.
I have said umpteen times that the rule that any gatherings of more than 5 people is considered to be illegal is most absurd in this modern age. People now know their rights, and under the Constitution, freedom of expression is supposed to be allowed and that expression includes freedom to march and pickets, as long as it is done in an orderly manner.
The police can always be on the standby to ensure that nothing untoward happens. They can actually help to minimise disruption to traffic by directing the crowd to one side of the road in their march to the Istana. If the crowd turns unruly, the police, with all the mights and modern gadgets and weaponry, can always come in and arrest those who are unruly. But to arrest people who are peaceful demonstrators are against human rights as well as the spirits of freedom of expression.
By firing tear gas and making the crowd running helter skelter, the police are in fact increasing the security risks, and the business of the surrounding shops will be affected. It needs not be so.
It is time that certain leeways should be given to the rakyat, including expressing their feelings against a draconian law such as the ISA, which should have been repealed long ago.