By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Police have backed Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s allegations that some parties wanted serious injuries and deaths at the April 28 Bersih rally, saying they had proof to support the home minister’s claims.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar (picture) told reporters that this was based on video evidence collected by the police during the rally for free and fair elections.
“There are indeed parties that wanted deaths to occur. I think it is not just the minister who is saying this... we (police) have evidence,” he told a press conference here.
Khalid said a video recording showed an individual making remarks about deaths during the Bersih rally.
“We have a clip recording of someone saying that even if five people died it wouldn’t matter,” he said, adding that reporters could have access to the recording and help police identify the individual.
But Khalid said that no action has been taken against the individual yet as he had not broken any law.
Hishammuddin said last week that his biggest fear ahead of the April 28 rally for free and fair elections was the possibility of serious injuries and fatalities.
“I was relieved there were none. But there were some parties who wanted that to happen,” he said.
The April 28 rally, which saw tens of thousands gather at six different locations before heading to Dataran Merdeka, was peaceful until about 2.30pm when Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan asked the crowd to disperse.
But her call was not heard by most of the crowd who persisted around the historic square which the court had already barred to the public over the weekend.
Just before 3pm, some protestors breached the barricade surrounding the landmark, leading police to disperse the crowd with tear gas and water cannons.
Police then continued to pursue the rally-goers down several streets amid chaotic scenes which saw violence from both sides over the next four hours.
Several dozen demonstrators have claimed that they were assaulted by groups of over 10 policemen at a time and visual evidence appears to back their claim but police also point to violence from rally-goers who also attacked a police car.
The police car then crashed into a building before some protestors flipped it on its side.
Khalid also said today 21 individuals on the police’s Bersih wanted list have either surrendered themselves or have been arrested.
“We are giving them until tomorrow (to surrender themselves), we have already identified them.
“There is no need for a warrant of arrest because rioting is a crime where we can detain without a warrant,” he said.