By Clara Chooi
KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Bersih admitted it lost control of the tens of thousands on the streets of the capital today when protesters failed to adhere to strict instructions not to breach the police barricade surrounding Dataran Merdeka.
Steering committee member Wong Chin Huat told The Malaysian Insider that Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan had ordered the crowd to disperse some time after 2pm but this message did not reach the crowd of thousands gathered outside the square.
“The dismissal was announced but they could not hear. Ambiga could have been at one end and they could not hear it,” he said, adding that the Bersih co-chair had marched from her meeting point at Central Market and reached Jalan Tun Perak near Dataran Merdeka when she told the crowd to disperse.
When the rally continued, said Wong, Bersih leaders and security personnel from PAS’s Unit Amal failed to hold back protesters from proceeding to breach the barricade, which the election watchdog group had earlier promised it would not do today.
Following the breach, the Federal Reserve Unit and hundreds of riot police sprung into action, raining down chemical-laced water and tear gas canisters upon protesters who were running in droves towards the square.
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