M'sia police turn water cannon on protesters

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/Latest%2BNews/Asia/STIStory_175494.html

Nov 10, 2007

M’sia police turn water cannon on protesters

KUALA LUMPUR - POLICE in the Malaysian capital used water cannon and fired tear gas shells on Saturday to break up crowds gathering for a banned opposition rally to demand changes to the country’s electoral system.

Hundreds of policemen, including riot police with shields and batons, guarded Kuala Lumpur’s landmark Merdeka (Independence) Square, where tens of thousands of people had planned to gather in one of Malaysia’s biggest anti-government rallies since 1998.

‘Police sprayed water cannons twice to disperse a crowd of about 500 protesters chanting slogans,’ said a Reuters witness who watched the incident outside a mosque guarded by about 50 riot police, while helicopters hovered overhead.

Nearby, another group of around 500 protesters, chiefly teenagers wearing yellow T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan 'Bersih", or ‘Clean’ in Malay, marched in heavy rain towards the city’s colonial-era railway station.

They chanted ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is greatest) and 'Reformasi", a reform demand that was the war chant of 1998 opposition protests, while waving banners reading ‘Save Malaysia’ and ‘Election Commission, stop your tricks’.

Groups of demonstrators converged on the palace of Malaysia’s king, where opposition leaders handed a list of electoral reform demands to a representative of the country’s head of state.

Policemen in the crowd said it numbered less than 10,000, but organisers put the figure at 30,000.

Opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim said he was happy with the turnout, despite the government’s condemnation of the protest.

‘It is a good signal that Malaysians want freedom and democracy and want free and fair elections,’ the former deputy prime minister told reporters.

‘Now we have no option but to appeal to his majesty,’ Datuk Seri Anwar said after he and several opposition colleagues, including Mr Hadi Awang of the hardline Islamist Parti Islam-se Malaysia and Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party, submitted their list.

‘The people’s right’
‘This is the people’s right, to assemble and air their grievances,’ said Mr Mohamadiah Sohod, 33, a government worker from the southern Johor state, who was upset because police had refused to issue a permit for the rally.

‘Today they are putting too many restrictions on the people. We want a fair and free election,’ he told Reuters.

‘The rules now are unjust and in favour of the ruling party.’ Police detained about a dozen protesters and effectively shut down the city centre, using barricades on main roads to halt cars and turn away protesters, witnesses said.

‘We will not hesitate to take action against those who defied our orders,’ state news agency Bernama quoted city police chief Zul Hasnan Najib as saying before the demonstration began.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said on Friday the government would not tolerate street protests. ‘They are challenging the patience of the people who want the country to be peaceful and stable,’ he said.

The protest was one of Malaysia’s biggest since unprecedented anti-government demonstrations in 1998 that led to Datuk Seri Anwar’s arrest and jailing.

The rally was organised by Bersih, a loose coalition of 26 opposition parties and non-government groups that is pushing for reforms to the electoral process it says favours Datuk Seri Abdullah’s ruling coalition.

Datuk Seri Abdullah won a record victory in a 2004 election, and is widely expected to call snap polls in early 2008.

Two people were seriously injured in September when police opened fire to disperse rioters at a Bersih rally in the northeastern state of Terengganu. – REUTERS

great video…

Oh dear!

will b a strong impact on the International communities perception of Malaysia’s ‘democracy’ sytem. :shock:

is reminiscent of Europe in the 30’s, & the emergence of the then Nationalist policies? :?:

parralled w today’s Borneo Post high-lighting …
“Champion shouters to be taken to task” …
ie. anybody in opposition…
“political detractors screaming at the top of their voices…”

all from a gentleman who reportedly said yesterday
…'would love to leave, but was duty bound to make sure
the high stakes of acheivements, & well-being of the state,
were in good hands…

great turn-out in kl. congrat to the organiser. as usual all violence were done by the polis and not the protesters.

anyone saw me wearing yellow in miri today? not many people in miri today wearing yellow though, and i suspect the few that did didn’t know about the rally at all… :wink:

[quote=“dougie”]Oh dear!
will b a strong impact on the International communities perception of Malaysia’s ‘democracy’ sytem. :shock:
[/quote]

What’s furthermore to say the broadcaster is an “ang mo” … :shock:

no…no…no… i think they are getting ready to start the rally in Miri…but last minute change of plan… :lol: :lol:

wearing yellow?ppl will u think r DIGI mascot…haaha

or Big Happy Smilees?! :slight_smile:

or Big Happy Smilees?! :)[/quote]

or homer simpson

[quote=“stupidhead”]
anyone saw me wearing yellow in miri today?[/quote]

…yellow is representing all opposition parties,
asking for a change of current election criteria/practices ?

plse excuse my ignorance. :?

just read zach’s blog…
was informative (as usuall)
cleared it for me.

Looks like AMNO learnt well from the tactics of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez! Total suppression of whatever form of dissent, even where it’s non-violent. M’sia needs someone like B. Bhutto, a lightning rod to create lots of thunder.

** Is there a possibility of declaration of state of emergency, so as to arrest & detain without trial?

** Is there a possibility of declaration of state of emergency, so as to arrest & detain without trial?[/quote]

can allready arrest, detain & blow-up without trial?

[quote=“dougie”]

parralled w today’s Borneo Post high-lighting …
“Champion shouters to be taken to task” …
ie. anybody in opposition…
“political detractors screaming at the top of their voices…”

all from a gentleman who reportedly said yesterday
…'would love to leave, but was duty bound to make sure
the high stakes of acheivements, & well-being of the state,
were in good hands…[/quote]

this a.m’s BP header statement… & from the same honourable gentleman…
“Sarawak has some ‘catching up’ to do in terms of development
because it is still lagging behind other states…”

he stressed however, that he was not complaining to the Federal Government
but merely explaining why Sarawak is still lagging behind.

must be all that Champion Shouters issuing contradicting statements,
over a 24hr period, or a lack of press consultants?
could it be there is a better man for the CM job?

more water canon, anyone?!

people in Sarawak are too scared to speak out

spartan (junior?(there is a spartan ‘senior’ allready in this forum))

if ppl too scared to speak out & nothing gets done,
re addressing of various issues/complaints,
then the original condition prevails/triumphs.

malaysia’s destiny is predictable with such government , not able to reach the stage of advanced country

junkai, sadly, it may be the truth.

but hopefully with the country’s ‘political’ spread of wealth,
then some level headed, conservative thinking,
from the upper echelons/captains, of industry, may see this too,
& may take notice of the direction, currently headed,
possibly steering My on a more favourable course?

all the more reason for My ‘champions’… to raise their voices?

post edit:
my apologies for writing in the first person plural.
on what is currently a sensitive national issue.
Sorry, was lazy english,
& unappreciative of the commitments shown,
by some very courageous ppl.