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Explain, Haris tells ‘bad boy’ Tian

 | July 28, 2011

Tian Chua finds himself in the hot seat following a Bersih 2.0 video of him charging at the FRU.

FULL REPORT

PETALING JAYA: PKR vice-president Tian Chua has been asked to explain a video clip that clearly showed him leading a charge at the FRU during the Bersih rally on July 9.

The clip (below) showed the crowd facing off with the police at the KL Sentral tunnel moments before multiple rounds of tear gas were fired at them.

Tian Chua was seen standing in the front while the Bersih 2.0 leaders were seen urging the crowd to move back.

Then Tian Chua counted down from three to one and led a charge straight at the FRU who fired at them.

The clip was uploaded by Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Haris Ibrahim on his blog earlier today. The blog post entitled, “Confirmed: Tian Chua was a bad, bad boy!” demanded an explanation from the Batu MP.

“Tian Chua, you have some serious explaining to do,” Haris wrote.

“You showed disrespect to the Bersih 2.0 leadership that was present there, especially (Bersih 2.0 chairperson) Ambiga (Sreenevasan) and you were leading the rally.

“More importantly you took it upon yourself to alter a peaceful rally to one of aggression, and in doing so, put many out there at risk to life and limb,” he said.

Tian Chua: Charge me

When contacted, Tian Chua declined to comment on the video and repeated his earlier statement that he would only respond to an official police charge against him.

“I don’t think it it appropriate for me to comment on this video clip,” he said. “If the police have evidence then they should charge me and I will defend myself in court.”

The clip however was included in the police version of the Bersih rally.

That version was screened to the media last week during which the police pointed out that Tian Chua had provoked them into firing the tear gas.

“I’m very troubled by the video,” Haris told FMT.

“When I saw the line of FRU on that day I suggested to Ambiga that we ask the crowd to sit and that the Bersih 2.0 leaders peacefully approach the FRU.

[Haris later today clarified that at that moment, he had not informed Ambiga of his suggestion to ask the crowd to sit but was about to tell her when the police started firing tear gas.]

“I didn’t hear the countdown nor the call to charge. All I heard was the sound of shooting. Two days later eye-witnesses told me about Tian Chua’s actions, I read FMT’s report of the police screening and I recently received this video clip,” he said.

Bersih 2.0 leaders condemned the police for the unprovoked firing but an upset Haris pointed out that Tian Chua’s actions now exonerated the FRU and validated police claims of crowd aggression.

He flayed Tian Chua for being “irresponsible and totally disrepectful” and pointedly asked if his group had been trying to hijack the rally.

“Tian Chua owes the public an explanation and shouldn’t hide behind this ‘not appropriate’ nonsense,” Haris said.

“He has chosen time and again to ventilate issues in public space and then call on authorities to answer. He should now do the same.

“This is a matter of public concern. Batu constitutents would probably have been among the crowd and don’t you think they have right to know why he behaved that way?” he said.

Ambiga, meanwhile, declined to comment, saying that she had not yet seen the video. However, she added that she would let the clip speak for itself.

Tian: Not the true picture

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In a statement issued later in the day, Tian Chua said “the witch-hunt whether on me or other participants cannot absolve the guilt of brutality on July 9”.

He said that the edited video which showed him leading the demonstrators did not give the true picture of what happened at the tunnel that day.

“Although the police did not specifically accuse me for “charging”  the police, reports in mainstream media insinuated that demonstrators and I intended to “attack” or cause physical harm to the police officers.

“This is far from the truth. From the video, it was clear that the policemen had their guns loaded with tear gas canisters,” he said.

He said anyone in the crowd would have realised the danger of staying in the enclosure once the police fired the tear gas.

“The video footage only showed a few people rushing out towards the open air, and tear gas was fired directly into the crowd.

“The video also showed that the police fired the tear gas canisters horizontally into the enclosed zone non-stop.

“The police action was evidently malicious and intended to cause maximum harm to the peaceful group without warning. It was unprovoked and unwarranted action. It was police brutality,” he added.

He said that many people witnessed the incident and that the edited video cannot distort the truth.

Tian Chua did not refer to Haris’ blog in his statement.

Also read:

Haris’ blog on Tian Chua

[Editor’s note: The original headline ‘Explain, Bersih 2.0 tells ‘bad boy’ Tian’ has been changed to correctly reflect that this is Haris Ibrahim’s personal opinion and not Bersih 2.0’s.]


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