11 held after clash over building site

Protesters fighting the police

MALAYSIA - Police wanted them to disperse, but they refused.

Police in Seremban in the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan then moved in on Monday and arrested 11 people, including two women, for obstructing a developer from demolishing squatter homes.

The group put up a fight and clashed with police who had riot helmets and shields on, The Star reported.

The group of 11, aged between 35 and 65, were taken to a nearby police station after they were arrested.

Nilai Superintendent Mohd Yusof Awang said they were released after their statements were recorded.

He said: "We had no choice but to arrest them as they refused to allow workers hired by the developer to carry out their work."

He said about 50 people prevented the workers from entering the area.

Supt Mohd Yusof said the 11 turned unruly even after being advised by police not to create problems.

He said the situation was brought under control after a meeting between a representative of some of the former residents, the developer and court officials. It is understood that the developer agreed to defer the demolition work.

On Sept 12, police had arrested 12 people for trespassing and preventing workers from bringing in machinery to demolish some of the houses in the 12ha village.

Four of those detained were social activists. The dispute between the former residents and the developer began in 2011 after they were ordered to vacate the area.

It was learnt that about 50 families had accepted the compensation offered by the developer then while the others decided to stay put.

The villagers who decided to stay asked the developer to increase the compensation amount or give them a piece of the land where they could build their own homes.

But both parties failed to resolve the matter amicably. The developer had tried to evict the villagers in September last year, but Prime Minister Najib Razak and Negeri Sembilan Chief Minister Mohamad Hasan gave them a reprieve.

The matter was then taken to court, which decided in the developer's favour in August.

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