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'NO SYMPATHY FOR LAWLESSNESS': Rally was hijacked by opposition parties, says Nazri
PADANG RENGAS: MINISTER in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said protesters arrested in the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday will be charged.
"They should not think that they can get away by breaking the law. Ample warnings were given and a court order was taken.
"We cannot allow lawlessness in our country," said Nazri in Kampung Bendang Ujib, near here, yesterday.
The de facto law minister said the action taken by police was right in dealing with the situation.
"I have no sympathy for those who were arrested. Those detained should be charged over offences committed under the law."
He said the rally was hijacked by opposition parties.
The unruly behaviour of protesters showed that the organisers were incapable of controlling the crowd, he added.
He said it would be naive to think that Bersih organiser Datuk S. Ambiga did not foresee the protest being hijacked by opposition parties.
"Everyone knows from the beginning that this was done with the support of the opposition. So let's not be naive.
"The unruly behaviour is very strange and Anwar (Parti Keadilan Rakyat de factor leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) is responsible for this.
"I think Ambiga is just as responsible as the political parties (for the unruly behaviour and violence)."
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said police, together with the attorney-general, would investigate the claims of each victim to ensure that justice was served.
"We will follow the course of law and investigate with photos and videos of every incident," he said after visiting policemen and media personnel injured during the rally, at Hospital Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
In Kuala Lumpur, city police chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh said they would seek help from the print media and television stations to identify protesters.
However, he said they would do this only after police had gone through all reports lodged in connection with unruly incidents.
"We have to study the reports before we make our next move," said Mohmad after addressing policemen who were deployed for the rally at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) here yesterday.
He said the actions of those who caused trouble could be seen in newspaper pictures and television images.
He said 50 police reports had been lodged in connection with the rally, of which 17 were from the police.
"The reports lodged by the police were on police vehicles that were damaged by rally supporters and on policemen who were assaulted."
Mohmad said police had done their best to stand guard but had to act to control the situation when the crowd became violent and defied the court order by breaking through the barrier and barb wires to enter Dataran Merdeka.
"The public can make their own assessment based on what they read and saw in the news."
He said 471 supporters and five children, aged between 9 and 15, were brought to Pulapol for documentation after they were detained by the police. All were released yesterday.
Pulapol commandant Senior Assistant Commissioner Zulkifli Mohamed said police provided two doctors and medical aid from the Civil Defence Department to treat rally supporters who were injured.
"We provided a prayer area for them as well as food during the documentation process."
While the detained supporters were being documented, some 500 people camped out in front of Pulapol for hours, said Zulkifli.
He said it started at 5pm and went on until 3am before the crowd dispersed.
"We had to close the gates as they were rowdy. They shouted abuses at the policemen at the gates and demanded the release of the detained supporters."