Bersih demonstrators deliberately breached lines, police say
KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Photographs obtained by police show that protesters intentionally breached a barricade separating the Bersih 3.0 rally from the then off-limits Dataran Merdeka, Bernama Online reported today.
“The stampede showed they had intended to enter Dataran Merdeka, which was guarded by police and Kuala Lumpur City Hall personnel,” KL police chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh was quoted as saying in the report.
According to Mohmad, the images were sourced from the media, witnesses and police personnel.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar has pledged a comprehensive probe of events during the April 28 rally for free and fair elections, which turned chaotic after riot police began firing tear gas and water cannons at demonstrators for breaching a court-ordered boundary.
City police yesterday released the photographs of 49 individuals wanted over the events on April 28, but none of its own even with Ismail’s promise that all offenders would be hauled up for their roles in the chaos.
Despite an initially peaceful start to the rally, Bersih’s third since 2007, police would later take measures that are now being condemned as more brutal than those employed during last year’s tumultuous July 11 Bersih 2.0 rally.
Besides protesters, police are alleged to have also assaulted media personnel and damaged or confiscated cameras, purportedly in an attempt to prevent the capture of other instances of alleged police brutality.
The latest round of allegations against the police, accompanied by an abundance of eyewitness recordings uploaded to video sharing websites, have renewed the clamour for formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
The IPCMC was a key recommendation of a 2004 Royal Commission of Inquiry on the police, but one whose implementation the force has so far resisted.
Bersih 3.0 was initially planned for the historic Dataran Merdeka but authorities had secured a court order on April 27 barring its use for public assemblies until May 1, forcing Bersih supporters to splinter into groups.