By Shannon Teoh
PETALING JAYA, May 25 — PKR accused Umno today of “escalating political violence” after an opposition ceramah in Lembah Pantai last night was pelted with stones, eggs and water bottles, resulting in a “night of bloodshed” which saw at least two seriously injured.
PKR leaders told a press conference that Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Lembah Pantai division chief Datuk Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin must take action against Umno members who allegedly attacked opposition leaders and the crowd.
“If they do not, then Umno has crossed the line where all violent acts are nothing less than a declaration of war against the public, giving free license to launch attacks against people and murdering democracy,” said Nurul Izzah Anwar, who is also Lembah Pantai MP.
The PKR vice president said the onus is on the government to take swift action just as it has done in other cases, such as the civil suit against Bersih 3.0 leaders for RM122,000 in damages allegedly incurred during the April 28 rally for free and fair elections.
“I am sure there are orders from higher up. The court order blocking off Dataran Merdeka was obtained so quickly and City Hall enforced it immediately,” she said, referring to the government’s move to prevent the planned sit-in from proceeding at the historic square.
“Since 1998, this is the worst incident I have faced,” Nurul Izzah added, referring to the public clashes when her father Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as deputy prime minister.
The ceramah, featuring Anwar, turned ugly when the crowd in attendance and party leaders were pelted with stones and eggs.
Tensions were already running high before the event began last night, as the scheduled PKR function was located a mere 100 metres away from another ceramah — one organised by Umno.
This thuggery is a desperate tactic by a political party that is consumed with clinging on to power by any means. — Nurul Izzah
Some 100 Lembah Pantai Umno youth members were earlier seen blocking the main road leading to the PKR ceramah venue, carrying banners which read “Anwar causes violence in this country.”
Chaos occurred when Nurul Izzah was about to speak — the wiring to the sound and lights system was cut, delaying the Lembah Pantai MP’s speech by a good 15 minutes.
Shortly after she spoke, Anwar arrived and that was when the stone- and egg-pelting commenced.
The night saw a senior citizen suffering an open wound to the head after being hit with a stone and a 12-year-old possibly breaking her wrist.
PAS’s Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad’s car tyre was also slashed, according to Nurul Izzah.
This is the third PR function disrupted in a week after similar incidents in Merlimau and Malacca.
Just hours after the fracas, Nurul Izzah’s service centre was also found littered with broken eggshells.
“This thuggery is a desperate tactic by a political party that is consumed with clinging on to power by any means,” Nurul Izzah added today.
Khairy has since condemned the violence and denied that any instruction was given to Umno Youth members to disrupt the ceramah.
But a PKR Youth leader from Lembah Pantai told the press conference today that he recognised his counterparts from Umno during the incident last night.