Witness: Bersih crowd only attacked after tear gas was fired
UPDATED @ 12:49:06 PM 23-07-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — The crowd at the Bersih rally on April 28 only threw things at the police after the authorities fired tear gas and water cannons at them first, a Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) inquiry was told today.
Hanif Ahmad Zanuddin, 36, a construction contractor from Seremban who took part in the rally for free and fair elections, was near the Masjid Jamek mosque during the incident. A witness at the inquiry, he added that the policemen threw back the shoes, stones, bottles and metal pieces at the crowd.
He added that he has been a PAS member for the past 14 years and had participated in the Bersih 1.0 and Bersih 2.0 rallies previously.
“I think the crowd attacked because they were angry at the policemen and Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) officers for firing tear gas and water cannons at them,” he said.
“The policemen also kicked and punched and detained me. I was confused as to whether I was detained or kidnapped as they did not tell me the reason for the arrest.
“I think that the police had beforehand received orders from someone to attack demonstrators during the rally to keep them out of Dataran Merdeka,” he said.
He added that he heard the police yell “Chase them” before his arrest near the Masjid Jamek LRT station. He was frantically searching for his friends who had earlier promised to meet there.
“The cops brought me along with other detainees to the Jalan Semarak Police Training Centre (Pulapol) and kept us there till midnight.
“We were given medical treatment while we were there,” he said.
The inquiry panel, led by Suhakam vice-chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee and aided by commissioners Professor Datuk Dr Mahmood Zuhdi Abdul Majid and Detta Samen, will be interviewing some 22 witnesses over a period of 22 days.
To date, 11 witnesses have testified before observers from the Malaysian Bar Council, police and several other independent monitors.
The inquiry continues on July 24.