Malaysia

PKR says will give legal aid to wanted Bersih supporters

KL police chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh holds up photographs of people wanted by police over their part in Bersih 3.0, during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur May 3, 2012. — Picture by Jack OoiKL police chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh holds up photographs of people wanted by police over their part in Bersih 3.0, during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur May 3, 2012. — Picture by Jack OoiPETALING JAYA, May 6 — PKR Youth today pledged to provide legal assistance for individuals wanted by the authorities over their alleged involvement in last weekend’s Bersih 3.0 rally.

Kuala Lumpur police have so far released the photographs of over 90 individuals wanted over the events on April 28, but none of its own despite a promise by the Inspector-General of Police that all offenders would be hauled up for their roles in the chaos.

Tan Sri Ismail Omar previously pledged a comprehensive probe of events during the 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.

“We urge those whose pictures have been released by the police to come to us; we will assist, provide legal advice. Do not go to the police station without seeing us first.

“We also want the police to explain what have these individuals done wrong, until their pictures were published in major newspapers... which law says that running over a barricade is an offence?” PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin told reporters here. Foreign media reports of Bersih’s demonstrations have painted the Malaysian authorities in a negative light for their purportedly hard-handed tactics in attempting to disperse protesters.

The Bersih 3.0 rally 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.

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.

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