The 100-odd students who are campaigning for the abolition of PTPTN (National Higher Education Loan Fund) were nevertheless appeared unfazed by the incident.
A group of unknown assailants attacked the students occupying Dataran Merdeka in the wee hours of the morning today, beating up several of them, resulting in one being taken to hospital.
The assailants, many of whom clad in black shirts, destroyed all the tents that were erected since last Saturday at the iconic public square in the city centre.
Malaysian Youth and Students Movement (Dema) coordinator Heng Kiah Chun told Malaysiakini that the incident occurred at about 2.45am and lasted about 15 minutes.
He said between 50 to 70 thugs surrounded the students at the camp site, then proceeded to provoke and assault them.
They roughed up a number of students and dismantled all their 10 tents (right), which were set up as part of a protest for free education.
Cameras and mobile phones damaged
According to Heng, the students remained calm and refused to respond to provocation.
However, attempts to document the attack through cameras, camcorders and handphones apparently angered their attackers, who subsequently destroyed some of the recording devices.
Heng added that there were about a dozen police officers in the area but they did not intervene until the students' leaders pleaded for their help.
The thugs left the area when the police arrived, and eyewitnesses said one or two of the perpetrators were arrested.
They held an impromtu meeting and voted to stay put at Dataran Merdeka.
"We will protect one another. We want action against the gangsterism," they said.
A police report will be lodged later today.