Malaysia

PAS: Police spread rumour of officer’s death to rile up force

Police pin down a protester yesterday. — Reuters picPolice pin down a protester yesterday. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — PAS today accused police leaders of faking a rumour of an officer’s death to rile up policemen and justify alleged police brutality during the Bersih 3.0 rally yesterday.

“The police have spread false news about the death of a traffic police to justify their brutality towards Bersih supporters,” PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu told a press conference here today.

He was accompanied by PAS legal bureau chairman Asmuni Awi, who demanded police authorities issue an official statement regarding the “news that was spreading like wildfire” during the crackdown on supporters yesterday.

“They (the police) must be responsible for the news (of the death). This (spreading of rumours) is a heinous and vicious act,” he said.

Asmuni, who believed policemen yesterday acted “like a pack of wild dogs” towards rally-goers to avenge their alleged fallen comrade, demanded police chief Tan Sri Ismail Omar issue an official statement to confirm that such a death had indeed occurred yesterday.

“The police started their physical attacks on supporters following the rumour after the crowd had dispersed and people were going home,” he explained.

“Fuelled by the rumour, the police started their assault on supporters because of revenge.”

Police attack victim Mohd Fatih, 28, confirmed Asmuni’s suspicions, saying he was assaulted by a group of policemen on the way home.

“They told me: ‘Do you know a friend of ours died?’ I believe this (police attacks) was for revenge,” he told reporters today.

“Otherwise, why assault us on our way home?” he asked.

Asmuni urged those who were attacked to come forward and lodge a report with PAS’ legal bureau within the next two weeks.

“We will file a civil suit against the police and government. We will give assistance to those hurt by the police,” he said.

Yesterday, police fired water cannons and tear gas at demonstrators who pushed through the barricade in front of the DBKL building, resulting in chaos on the streets.

Some of the 15,000-strong crowd broke down the barriers and moved towards the historic square, resulting in police firing chemical-laced water and tear gas canisters.

PKR deputy president Azmin Ali tried to negotiate with police, who told the Gombak MP to calm the group down. But despite his advice they still broke through the barricades.

Police fired as far as the DBKL premises, which are across Jalan Parlimen, and the move broke up the crowd at Dataran who fled helter-skelter.

Angry protestors later attacked a police car which then crashed into at least two people while trying to flee.

The angry crowd then surrounded the policemen but volunteers from PKR’s Jingga 13 formed a human shield around the officers, saying “don’t blame them, it’s not their fault.”

After an ambulance took away the injured policemen, the protestors flipped the car over on its side but then fled after tear gas was fired.

It was reported some 388 protesters had been arrested as of 9pm here yesterday.

The number arrested is far fewer than the 1,667 detained during the Bersih 2.0 rally in the city held on July 9 last year.

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