Thursday, May 3, 2012

Who's To Blame?

We must have read the government-spun story about how at Bersih 3.0, the barricade was breached and so protestors swarmed police lines, thereby forcing the authorities to shoot tear gas and aim their water cannons at the unruly mob. This is what the government wants us to believe but really, it is very far from the truth!

It is noteworthy to make the following points.

First, the violence at Bersih 3.0 occurred only after it was declared a success and the instruction was issued to the crowd to disperse.

Second, this singular breach was used as a pretext for the police to use a disproportionate and overpowering amount of excessive force. Why didn’t the police just arrest those individuals who removed the barricade? Why did the police deploy their riot-control weaponry on the peaceful crowd who were already dispersing?

Check out the pictures below which showed the crowds moving in the opposite direction to where tear gas was fired. The photos indicated that the Bersih participants were in fact, leaving the area:

And nay, they retreated not because the tear gas was fired – they did so because, simply put, the rally had ended. We were told to disperse! I was there at Jalan Tun Perak and I can confirm this.

Third, eyewitness reports suggested that the police and specifically, the FRU were already lying in wait. Did they already know when the action (i.e. breach) was going to start? Were they privy to this stunt? Was it staged?

Fourth, the area where the breach occurred was not even within the restriction of the court order – check out the map below:

Therefore, the police had no right to do anything that had the potential to make things turn ugly!

The water may have already flowed under the bridge but you and I can agree that irrespective of how the violence started – the use of devastating force against unarmed civilians was unacceptable. How can anyone with normal intelligence defend the police – armed to the teeth – and whose primary objective was to protect an empty Dataran Merdeka?

From the very many reports that I had read and scrutinized, there were indeed agent provocateurs in the Bersih crowd. Plain-clothes policemen with yellow armbands were in the thick of the action, lobbing tear gas canisters back at their colleagues. And there were also not a few delinquents who had a field day throwing things at the police. Not to forget too that a seemingly inexperienced police constable had driven his car into a sea of protestors and unleashing a fury that is seen in the photo below:

I believe that this violence against Malaysians was premeditated. The police were hell-bent on inflicting as much injury and pain as possible. They didn’t care if Malaysians suffered. They invited trouble so that they can pin the blame on Bersih 3.0. Didn’t Hishamuddin Hussein himself say that they (he and the police) had learned from their lesson in Bersih 2.0? Is this lesson about teaching Bersih supporters not to mess with them? Are they a law unto themselves?

It is a fact that reporters and photographers from both the local and foreign media were assaulted during the fracas on Saturday and their equipment and memory cards were either confiscated or intentionally damaged. It would appear that this was because they had witnessed and filmed certain elements of the police teaching protesters a lesson!

And now the cops faced with reports of thuggery within their ranks should not wield the power to investigate the incidences of police brutality! Not them, please! But I guess the circus is still in town!

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