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PSM: Nothing wrong in breaching barricades

 | April 30, 2012

PSM leader S Arutchelvan says the protesters wanted the historical square liberated and to stand true to its name.

PETALING JAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) sees nothing wrong with Bersih 3.0 protesters breaching the barricades around Dataran Merdeka.

This was because the protesters wanted the historial square “liberated” and to stand true to its name.

It was the breaking of those barricades, however, that unleashed the water cannons and tear gas upon the 80,000-strong crowd which had gathered peacefully for the past six hours.

However, PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan maintained that the police were not justified in using the removal of the barricades as an excuse to go on a “rampage” and hinted that it seemed as if they were just waiting for an opportunity to do so.

“The removal of the barricades was a popular demand rather than an isolated one,” he pointed out.

“The police used discretion in allowing the people to rally from six points though initially they said that they would not allow this.

“In the same manner, they could have used their discretion in allowing the people to gather at Dataran Merdeka. Their high-handed and irrational actions resulted in many problems which otherwise could have been avoided,” he said.

Arutchelvan pinned the responsibility on the authorities’ “obsession” and “paranoia” in protecting Dataran Merdeka from being occupied by any democratic movement.

He stated PSM’s conviction that if Bersih 3.0 had been granted access to Dataran Merdeka the only inconvenience would be the temporary disruption of traffic flow.

“The speeches could have been read out on a good microphone system and the crowd would have dispersed in an orderly manner,” he said as he ticked off a list of favourable scenarios.

“There would have been no litter as the organisers would have told the public to collect the garbage as they did in Kuantan during the anti-Lynas rally. And it would have been easier for the police to monitor the situation,” he added.

Remembered for two reasons

Arutchelvan said that if reports of agent provocateurs and policemen wearing Bersih 3.0 T-shirts were true, then it was obvious that the peaceful rally had been compromised by certain elements who were bent on provoking the crowd.

Nevertheless, he said, the turnout made Bersih 3.0 the biggest rally in years and would be remembered for two reasons – for the huge show of people’s power and for the “unjust violence” by the police.

And while PSM welcomed the early release of all the detainees, Arutchelvan emphasised that they should not have been arrested in the first place.

“In defending Dataran Merdeka, the police made a mockery of themselves and a charade of our democracy,” he stated.

“What the people wanted was free and fair election and they wanted to express it in numbers. The police and government must take full responsibility for the damages suffered on Saturday. It seems that neither has reformed yet.

“In spite of new laws, new slogans and new promises, the people’s freedom continue being trampled on and they will continue rising up against tyranny,” he said.

“This is definitely not the last of the rallies for change,” he added.


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