A total of 31 individuals were apprehended by the police while they were holding a vigil at Dataran Merdeka to mourn those who lost their lives to COVID-19
The individuals involved were members of Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR) who carried a banner that read, "Belasungkawa jiwa-jiwa yang telah pergi" (Condolences to the souls that have departed).
According to The Vibes, they laid the banner at the foot of the giant Jalur Gemilang flagpole before lighting candles and placing roses on the ground.
The group gathered at Dataran Merdeka yesterday, 19 August, and the event was stopped shortly after it began around 8pm.
Upon interrupting the vigil, police seized participants' identification cards and hauled them into Black Marias
In a report by Malaysiakini, it is stated that several police officers were heard telling the participants to follow them to Dang Wangi police station for "documentation purposes". It is also understood that police had seized mobile phones belonging to the participants, restricting their access to the lawyers present.
Meanwhile, in a brief Facebook message, Malaysiakini was informed that all detainees were released at 1am.
Videos of the situation at Dataran Merdeka last night have since gone viral on social media. In several clips, participants can be heard asking the police whether they were being arrested, to which the officers didn't answer.
Police have issued a fine to all participants and opened investigation papers under three different offences
According to Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Noor Dellhan Yahaya's statement, the participants were fined RM2,000 each for violating COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). The total fine was RM62,000.
The case is being investigated under Section 9 (5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, Section 21A of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, and Rule 10 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 2020.