Malaysian police on Friday detained the leader and secretary of an activist group a day before a planned rally to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The arrests came hours after police and regulatory officials raided the office of the group, known formally as the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, but better known as Bersih, the Malay word for clean.

According to the pair’s lawyer, Bersih Chairwoman Maria Chin Abdullah was detained as part of a police investigation into whether she should be charged for the crime of attempting to undermine Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy. The lawyer said police arrested Mandeep Singh, who is secretary of Bersih’s secretariat, as part of an investigation into whether he should be charged with rioting.

It was unclear when they would be released, according to their lawyer.

Police also issued a statement banning the group’s rally on Saturday, along with a counter-rally planned by a pro-government group known as the Red Shirts.

Mr. Najib’s government has clamped down on opposition lawmakers, media organizations and civil society groups over the past year and a half after as questions emerged over the management of a state investment fund he founded in 2009.

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Image courtesy of Reuters