IGP: Bersih has no right to call for police intervention

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KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 2.0 has no right to request police intervention for this weekend’s rally given that it has already been declared an illegal assembly, says Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.

“Those people seeking police protection should first obey the laws,” Khalid told reporters at a press conference in Bukit Aman today.

Khalid dismissed former Bersih co-chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan’s call for the police to prevent the Red Shirts from holding simultaneous demonstrations with Bersih 5.0 rally participants this Saturday.

Ambiga had said the authorities can use Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 to separate the Bersih rally from the Red Shirts counter rally by providing the latter with an alternative date and venue.

“These people do know the laws,” he said sarcastically when quizzed on the matter by reporters.

Khalid repeated his mantra throughout the press conference that the two gatherings scheduled concurrently for this weekend are illegal and that police will take appropriate action.

“There has been Bersih 1 all the way to Bersih 5. How long more must we be patient with these people?

“If the owner of the place says that you cannot use the place, then find another place. Why are you so hard-headed?

“We have to respect the rights of the people using the area as well as the traders and the people visiting the area.”

However, Khalid was reticent on whether the authorities will be making preemptive arrests before this Saturday, saying only that it all “depends”.

He also did not say how many policemen will be tasked for this weekend, saying that “as many as needed” will be on duty that day.

Ambiga has said the Bersih 5.0 rally will proceed as planned and reiterated that under the PAA 2012, a permit to hold the rally is not required.