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Police give their side of the rally story

 | July 21, 2011

A video presentation seeks to prove that the police restrained themselves, acted only on provocation and performed acts of kindness during the Bersih 2.0 march on July 9

FULL REPORT

KUALA LUMPUR: The police today screened videos to support their version of what happened during the Bersih rally on July 9.

The videos and associated presentations were divided into four segments:

  • The restraint shown by the police, provocations by demonstrators, and police hospitality towards those arrested.
  • An analysis of what took place at KL Sentral and KLCC.
  • An analysis of claims by PAS leader Mohamad Sabu and another key player named Shuhardi Mat Isa.
  • An analysis of the events at Tung Shin Hospital.

The videos were presented by the Internal Security and Public Order chief Salleh Rashid at the Bukit Aman police headquarters here this afternoon.

The presentation started with clips from videos shot by the police and other people. These were meant to support the claim that police exercised restraint in dealing with the Bersih marchers. There was no reference to widely publicised footage alleging police brutality. These have been circulating around the Internet since July 9.

One of the clips shown today depicted policemen facing protesters in the rain in front of the Puduraya bus station. Referring to the protesters, Salleh said: “We can see them gathering, even though we gave them warning.”

Salleh also pointed to a similar occurrence in front of the KL Sentral complex, saying the police “did nothing even though the demonstrators were in front”.

He said tear gas was fired only when a group led by Batu MP Tian Chua allegedly charged at the riot squad.

No tear gas was fired near the KLCC complex, he said, adding that the presence of water cannons was good enough to chase protesters away.

Slogans as provocation

To back the claim that there was provocation from the protesters, Salleh showed pictures of protesters throwing back tear gas canisters at the police. He also showed a video of a single protester from a crowd near the Puduraya bus station throwing an object, which he said was aimed at the police.

He said police also considered as provocation the chanting of slogans such as “Hidup Rakyat”.

Salleh then showed instances of arrested protesters being given “first-class treatment”.

“Look at how we treated this old man,” he said, pointing to a clip showing officers escorting a protester away.

“Look at how we helped him,” Salleh said, referring to another protester being led into a police Land Rover. “The police officer is holding his bag.”

He also showed a clip of Bersih 2.0 chairperson S Ambiga being given “a chance” to rest during the protests.

“We gave her a chance to drink water. Later, we led her into a van, and not a Black Maria.”

There were similar footage of “acts of kindness” extended to Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Salleh also showed what he claimed was evidence that would absolve the police of responsibility in the death of protester Baharuddin Ahmad. He said he died of heart complications.

He exhibited a still image photographed at the Avenue K shopping centre, saying it showed Baharuddin running through the entrance at about 4.29pm.

He said Baharuddin might have broken his bones and teeth because of the resuscitation method used and the insertion of tubes through his mouth.

Summing up the presentation, Salleh said the police acted professionally, following standard operating procedure.

“There were no deaths that could be directly connected to the police,” he said.

He also warned the public not to upload to the Internet any “items or articles” that did not reflect the “true facts” surrounding the rally.

“If you start to tell not the true story, the public perception will be different,” he said.

“If anybody is found to upload to try to make a false story, we will take action.”

Asked why the presentation did not feature the YouTube videos that their uploaders claim to be evidence of police brutality, Salleh replied: “Okay maybe that one we show the next time. If you have that video, forward to us, we will investigate.”

Also read:

‘Video shows PAS No 2 lied’

Cops admit firing into hospital, but not sorry

Trapped, ambushed and gassed


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