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Witness: I saw policeman holding up a gun

 | July 5, 2012

The traffic policeman was allegedly controlling the bike with one hand.

VIDEO INSIDE

KUALA LUMPUR: The role of the traffic police in controlling the crowd during the Bersih 3.0 rally has come under scrutiny again.

This time, it was the role of one officer who was allegedly holding up a gun while approaching protesters along Jalan Raja Laut.

Veteran army officer, Khairul Anuar Pawanchik, 60, said that he witnessed this when he was on duty during the rally on April 28.

“Around 3pm to 4pm at Jalan Raja Laut, I saw about 15 to 20 traffic policemen who came riding on their bikes. The leader of the pack was holding up his gun to the sky while standing on his bike. He was controlling the bike with one hand.

“I was afraid for his safety and the crowd if he fell down from the motorcycle and his weapon went off… the act is unjustifiable,” he said.

He told this to the Suhakam public inquiry panel investigating human rights abuse during the rally.

Khairul said that two of the officers in that group were ordinary policemen in blue uniform and that only one person was holding up the gun.

“He was not brandishing his gun, he was merely holding it,” he said, adding that this was not a common practice to disperse the crowd and he had only witnessed it once in his career.

Gun pointed at protesters

He, however, did not stay long to witness what occurred next as he was part of the Red Crescent mobile convoy which was giving out drinking water to the crowd.

This brings into question the role that traffic police played in controlling the crowd that day.

In the aftermath of the rally, FMT received a video depicting a traffic policeman pointing his gun at unarmed protesters.

In the short clip, it was unclear if the policeman was trying to prevent the protesters from “stealing” an abandoned motorcycle on the road.

Although the rally on April 28 began with carnival-like atmosphere, events took an ugly turn when some protesters breached the barbed wire which cordoned off Dataran Merdeka. Both protesters and police blame each other for the violent turn of events.

Suhakam set up an in inquiry on May 25 to look into instances of human rights violation during the rally.

The panel had its first hearing today where three witnesses testified. Besides Khairul, Baharudin Hashim, 53, and R Kunabal, 58, also gave their testimony.

Commissioners Mahmood Zuhdi Majid, Khaw Lake Tee and Detta Samen are heading this panel. The same panel conducted the inquiry into Bersih 2.0 rally on July 7 last year.

So far the panel has 22 witnesses lined up. This number, however, does not include the witnesses from the police force.

The next hearing will be on July 11.

Also read:

‘War grade barbed wire used at Bersih rally’


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