KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13, 2007 (AFP) – Five leaders of Malaysian Indian activist group Hindraf were arrested Thursday under controversial security laws that allow for detention without trial, a spokesman said.
Hindraf enraged the government last month by mounting a mass rally alleging discrimination against minority ethnic Indians in Malaysia, which is dominated by Muslim Malays.
Police used tear gas, water cannon and baton charges to break up the street protest which drew 8,000 people, and came just two weeks after another rare demonstration organised by electoral reform campaigners.
Hindraf member S. Jayathas said the five — P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasanthakumar — were arrested at their offices Thursday.
“Regardless of the arrests this struggle will move on. We have many leaders who are waiting to take over and we will not go backwards but move ahead with the fight for the rights of Indians in Malaysia,” Jayathas told AFP.
The Internal Security Act (ISA), which human rights groups are campaigning to have abolished, is currently being used to hold more than 100 people, including about 80 alleged Islamic militants.
It is not thought to hav