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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Police version of rally unacceptable

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:29 AM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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The police version of the Bersih 2.0 rally has been slammed as a political message aimed at the government's rural constituents.

PETALING JAYA: PAS’ Kuala Selangor MP, Dzulkefly Ahmad, has voiced shock over the police version of the Bersih 2.0 rally and dismissed it as a message meant for Barisan Nasional’s rural constituents.
Yesterday the police screened videos to support their take on the rally which depicted police restraint, provocations by demonstrators and police hospitality towards detainees.
Part of the footage included “acts of kindness” shown to Dzulkefly and Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah Anwar.

The police presenter claimed that the MPs were offered oxygen mask after being tear gassed in the KL Sentral tunnel. But Dzulkefly reacted with amazement when told of this.
“Oh my god, they were kicking and shoving us!” he exclaimed. “Nurul, (PKR deputy secretary-general) Sharifah Shahida (Syed Kamarulzaman) and I were the first to exit the tunnel. The minute we got out the FRU kicked us, threw us to the wall and ordered us to squat.”
“They wanted to handcuff us but Sharifah was having a severe asthma attack and there was no such oxygen mask. Then the Lembah Pantai head of police passed by, saw his MP on the ground and told the FRU to release us. So if that release constitutes hospitality…”
Dzulkefly added that he was extremely surprised that the police displayed selective portrayal of the rally despite the existing footage online.
“There is footage of unnecessary aggression by the police,” he said. “How can they shoot at us and then claim hospitality? And to say that the late Baharuddin Ahmad’s injuries were a result of medical assistance is atrocious.”
‘Very sad’
Police claimed that Baharuddin could have broken his bones and teeth because of the resuscitation method used and the insertion of tubes through his mouth.
“This video is meant for BN’s rural Malay voters who have no access to the Internet,” Dzulkefly said. “They know they cannot hoodwink the urban voters any more so they are targetting their rural constitutencies.”
Bersih steering committee member, Toh Kin Woon, called the video “very sad” and an indication that government institutions are “insensitive to public criticism”.
“They don’t want to do self-critique or ask themselves honest questions that could regain them their credibility and honour,” he said. “The police insist that every allegation against them is baseless so how can it be sensitive to public demands?”
Toh also disputed police claims that the protesters were provocative, saying that he neither saw nor heard any such accounts.
“I was at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall and all was peaceful until the police decided to fire chemical-laced water at us,” he recounted. “So of course the crowd shouted back at them. But there was absolutely no provocation on our end.”
Meanwhile, Batu MP, Tian Chua, whom the police blamed for provoking them by charging at them, refused to entertain the contents of the footage.
“It’s very simple,” he said. “If the police have evidence, then charge me and I will defend myself in court. It’s very bad for the police to engage in a trial by media. Why are they doing that?”
“If Umno screened this footage, then we can say that it is just trying to score political points and we will respond politically. But the law enforcement should not engage in an exercise to demonise the people.”

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