By Charles Ramendran and Pauline Puah
PETALING JAYA (Nov 12, 2007): Kuala Lumpur police chief DCP Datuk Zul Hasnan Najib Baharuddin said police have released all the 245 people arrested at the Bersih rally on Saturday after recording their statements, and that the police are not aware of anyone being injured and admitted to hospital.
He said the police used minimal force when controlling the crowd although there were occasions when police personnel were pelted with stones and other objects. He said the police did not receive any report of anyone involved in the rally being admitted to hospital.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) information chief Tian Chua said five people were warded at a hospital for injuries sustained during the rally when they were chased by police.
In Saturday’s gathering organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, or Bersih, which represents a grouping of nongovernmental organisations and opposition parties, thousands of people marched from various parts of Kuala Lumpur to Istana Negara to submit a memorandum to the King, calling for electoral reforms.
According to news reports, the police, which did not issue a permit for the gathering, used tear gas and the water cannon on the protesters near the Masjid Jamek area when the police’s order to them to disperse went unheeded. They also set up roadblocks at several main roads leading to the city centre, resulting in a massive traffic jam.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the opposition parties should face the Barisan Nasional in the general election instead of organising such a demonstration. At a press conference yesterday, PAS vice-president Mohammad Sabu said:
“We joined the demonstration because we do want to contest in the election. We want to contest in a clean and fair election.” Chua also said he and five others, including PAS vice-president Mohammad Sabu, DAP NGO bureau chief Ronnie Liu and PKR vice-president R. Sivarasa, have been summoned by the federal commercial crimes investigation department (CCID) for investigations into the formation of Bersih.
He said the police were investigating whether the coalition was a registered organisation. He said a CCID offi cer had called him a week ago and asked him to turn up at the CCID headquarters in Bukit Perdana for questioning. He said they had yet to decide if they would go.
Updated: 12:00AM Mon, 12 Nov 2007
Police free all 245 after recording their statements