In what seemed a reprise of one of the more unusual moments in recent Malaysian history, police officers wearing ski masks seized the country's most prominent opposition politician, Anwar Ibrahim, on Wednesday and took him to jail on suspicion of sodomy.
Although Anwar was freed on bail on Thursday morning, his lawyers said, his arrest was likely to add to political tensions that have grown since the governing party suffered the biggest losses in its history in an election in March.
Anwar, 61, has strongly denied the accusation of sodomy, which was made last month by a 23-year-old male aide. He called it a political fabrication by the same governing establishment that convicted him on charges of sodomy and corruption in 1998. The sodomy conviction was later overturned. Sex between males is against the law in Malaysia.
After his previous arrest, tens of thousands of supporters challenged the government in the streets.
The manner of Anwar's arrest on Wednesday seemed intended to intimidate and to challenge the opposition as much as to enforce the law.