An Umno deputy minister stated that the violent and chaotic scenes at Malaysia Bersih rally pointed to an angry and divided Malaysian nation that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) must take special care in addressing.
Kuala Lumpur / NationalTurk – Malaysian authorities and organizers of Saturday’s massive Bersih 3.0 rally protest in downtown Kuala Lumpur continue to blame each other as Bersih rally devolved into a slug fest amid tear gas and water cannon and overturned police cars. Umno supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah told The Malaysian Insider the crowd that flooded the streets of the Malaysian capital to call for free and fair elections was larger, angrier and had people from all races than last July 9’s Bersih rally.
‘ There were elements of defiance and anger from the Bersih rally crowd and Malaysian police who acted strangely towards journalists. BN must be very careful in addressing this,’ the deputy higher education minister stated ahead of an Umno supreme council meeting tonight.
Bersih 3.0 Rally Malaysia : Bigger attendance angrier protests
BN-linked media and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin have swiftly blamed Bersih and opposition leaders for the violence that followed after some demonstrators defied orders from police and organisers not to breach the barriers surrounding Dataran Merdeka.
Police began cordoning off Kuala Lumpur’s Independence Square on April 27 after getting a court order preventing people from entering the area where Bersih planned a sit-in.
More than 250,000 people attended the protest, Bersih co- chairwoman Ambiga Sreenevasan was quoted as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal yesterday, dismissing the police figure as too low.
Saifuddin stated he would raise the handling of yesterday’s planned sit-in at the historic square during tonight’s party leadership meeting.
‘ Last year, members of the public were not angry, they just wanted fair polls. This time they’re angry. But yet surveys show BN’s support has gone up. This just tells me the country is getting more and more divided.
Bersih 3.0 rally sets the tone in Malaysia
‘If not for the police car incident, Bersih 3.0 would be a bigger issue for BN,’ he noted.
Tens of thousands demonstrators were dispersed by police with water cannon and tear gas after some rally-goers pushed through the barricade in front of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and tried to rush into Dataran Merdeka.
Some of the 15,000-strong group sandwiched between police and DBKL broke down the barriers and moved towards the historic square, prompting police to fire chemical-laced water and tear gas canisters.
PKR deputy president Azmin Ali had tried to negotiate with police, who told the Gombak MP to calm the group down. But despite his advice, they still broke through the barricades.
Police fired as far as the DBKL premises, which are across Jalan Parlimen, and the move broke up the crowd who fled helter-skelter but police chased them down at Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Raja Laut.
Angry protestors later attacked a police car, which then crashed into at least two people while trying to flee.
Bersih Rally Malaysia : Overturned police car, violence at its zenith Video
Despite most of the crowd dispersing, a pocket of 1,000 demonstrators then engaged in open battle with riot police near Masjid Jamek.
A police officer was seen dragging a man across the road, which resulted in Bersih supporters attacking the police with broken bottles, mineral water bottles and broken concrete slabs.
A convoy of police vehicles ferrying Mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail in one of its cars was forced to make a U-turn near Masjid Jamek when met with a hostile reception from protestors who threw shoes and broken concrete slabs at them, smashing the windows of two cars. The car crashed into a wall before running down a couple of Bersih rally protesters.