Thursday, July 21, 2011

Video proves police not harsh in dispersing rally

KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 (Bernama) -- No violence was committed by police when dispersing the illegal rally on July 9 in the federal capital based on video recordings screened for 200 people comprising media representatives and the public at Bukit Aman, here, today.

Internal Security and Public Order director Datuk Salleh Mat Rasid said besides the absence of any violent acts allegedly committed by police when dispersing the rally, the recordings also proved that accusations about the gathering by certain quarters were untrue.

The hour-long video recordings started with explanatory slides on the allegations by various quarters against the police, then the viewing of the video and it ended with a press conference.

"There were six accusations against the police including on the issue of using tear gas at KLCC and causing the death of rally participant Baharuddin Ahmad," he said.

The CCTV recordings which were shown to the media clearly proved that no tear gas hit Baharuddin when he was at Avenue K.

"The CCTV recording at Avenue K proves that the police did not use any tear gas. Baharuddin collapsed after running with the crowd at Avenue K and this was supported by several witnesses who had their statements taken," he said.

Salleh said the allegation that Baharuddin was beaten, sustained three broken ribs and injury to the lip was also untrue because the post-mortem results did not find any injury on his body while he was confirmed to have died from a heart attack.

"The claim that the ambulance came an hour late is also incorrect because the CCTV recorded that the ambulance arrived 17 minutes after receiving a 999 call," he said.

The video recording also showed that no violence was committed against the opposition leaders. Among them were Bersih (the organisers of the illegal rally) chairman Datuk S.Ambiga, PAS president Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang and deputy president Mat Sabu, and PKR's Nurul Izzah and Tian Chua.

In the video, there were no scenes of violence against those who had provoked the police and in one scene, Ambiga could be seen comfortable and calm while drinking water when detained by police at KL Sentral.

There was also a scene in the video where police helped Nurul Izzah put on a mask and of Hadi at the Terengganu airport telling supporters that he received decent treatment from the police.

There were also footages of acts of provocation which were first started by Tian Chua who attacked the Light Strike Force (LSF) before forcing the police to fire tear gas at him and a group of supporters at KL Sentral.

"One could see that the police did not start anything. We used our standard operating procedure (SOP) before any action was taken. We were forced to use tear gas when they insisted on continuing the rally after we gave them a total of nine warnings ," he said.

The video recordings also showed that the motorcycle on which Mat Sabu was riding pillion was not hit by a police Pajero 4WD as alleged. Instead, the motorcycle went out of control and skidded on to the road shoulder after hitting the fender of the Pajero when the motorcycle rider was making a U turn.

"There was no collision here...this is amply proved by the recording of the CCTV in the area," he said.

The video also showed how those involved in the gathering were detained in a civil manner, asked to show their identity cards, the elderly who had pains on their lower back were assisted into police cars and the detainees were questioned in a good manner.

"They were also not handcuffed. In fact, they were allowed to contact their family members. All those detained were sent to the temporary detention centre at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) where preparations such as a comfortable place to process documents, food and drinks and a place to pray were provided," he said.

Salleh said medical officers, comfortable beds and health checks were also available at Pulapol.

A bus was provided for the detainees when they were released, to locations where they could easily access public transport home in order to ensure their safety.

The video also showed rioters who started the provocation and forcing the police to use tear gas.

Among the scenes were of rioters climbing police vehicles and throwing objects such as bottles and hurling back tear gas cannisters at the police and shoving a senior police officer.

The video also showed police using tear gas in a lane near the Tung Shin Hospital which was used as an issue by certain quarters.

"We admit that we did use tear gas near the hospital but the tear gas was outside of the hospital where the rioters were.

"We are still investigating the case. If from the investigation, we find that the rules had been contravened on our side, we will take action," he said.

Salleh said the conclusion that could be deduced was that the police had acted in a professional manner by following the SOP, managed to cool matters in three hours, had caused no deaths and prevented damage to property.

"Despite the accusations levelled at us, our spirits are not dampened," he said.

"Our early action also succeeded in limiting the number of participants at the illegal rally. There were less than 10,000." Meanwhile, Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia president Datuk Dr Maamor Osman who also attended the screening, said the police had proved that they had carried out their task well to protect public safety without resorting to violence.

"Nonetheless, I hope after this, the police will hold press conferences and screening of the videos. I understand there are still some parts which the police have not shown.

"What was screened today was what the police have to date. It is important to show all to satisfy all quarters. The police must also procure those videos available on blog sites to make comparisons," he said.

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