Nov 17, 07
The police are no longer there to protect you.”
That was the terse response of lawyer Wee Choo Keong to the testimony of pisang goreng seller Aleyasak Hamid Ali Hassan.
In an interview with Malaysiakini, Aleyasak said his left knee was broken and crushed “by police officers” in the crackdown on protesters gathering in the vicinity of Masjid Jamek.
The father of two said he was not participating in the rally but was there as a mere “spectator”.
He was among dozens who took the brunt of a crackdown on what the police described as an illegal assembly after refusing to approve the organisers’ application for a permit.
Although he did not see the alleged assault on Aleyasak, Wee said he had witnessed and taken pictures of police officers carrying him away.
No more pictures
Wee – who was one of 40 Bar Council’s observers to the rally – managed to take two photographs of Aleyasak before police officers threatened him (Wee) with arrest if he took any more pictures.
The lawyer also said he had seen police officers screaming at and threatening female bystanders at the Masjid Jamek LRT station with their batons.
Wee criticised the government’s reaction to the Bersih rally and described it as ruling over Malaysia as a “police state” and “fascist state.”
Bersih – a polls watchdog coalition of 67 NGOs and five political parties – organised the rally and march to the national palace to submit a memorandum to the King’s representative.
Some 40,000 people took part despite prior threats of action by both the police and Cabinet ministers.
In a statement, the Bar Council has described police use of physical aggression and violence without warning towards the peaceful crowd in Masjid Jamek as “unnecessary.”
Bar Council observer blasts 'police state'