All Empower office staff have been arrested and there are calls for lawyers to help them. The office is acting as the Secretariat of Bersih rally. Anticipating more arrests some NGO like SUARAM are maintaining minimum opening hours(10am-12noo) till Bersih rally is over. PKR meanwhile is thinking aloud that Emergency rule may even be imposed to stop Bersih rally on July 9th. Meanwhile many other groups like the Silat association claimed they are `waging war’ to stop the Bersih rally-after PSM has been accused of `waging war’ against the King/Agong after their members were spotted wearing Che Guevara t-shirts construed as support for communism.
Update 2: Some lawyers from Lawyers for Liberty and other groups are already with the arrested staff at the police stations. More lawyers are still needed. Despite that Bersih organiser Maria Chin was able to go to Parliament to send a 6-page memo to Parliamentarians today, accompanied by a SUARAM staff. Just in: all 7 staff of Empower office that also run the Bersih Secretariat had been arrested and hundreds of Bersih T-shirts, head bands had been confiscated. The police did not bring any warrant to enter the office -but force all their way inside. The police reportedly said they will investigate the office under laws on `organisations'(Society Act ?). Meanwhile NGOs and parties are mobilising hundreds of lawyers to support participants of the Bersih rally or anyone arrested by police due to Bersih’s rally ahead of July 9th.
Why the paranoia by BN/UMNO about just a rally? Actually by making and threatening more arrests and other actions to stop Bersih Bersih had already succeeded to publicise their cause for electoral reforms way before the rally. Only BN politicians are still deluding themselves that their capricious exercise of power had served to keep the issue under lid and that their muscle flexing has public support!