Drawing from lessons of past rallies, the FRU have taken ‘anger management' courses since early this year, its commanding officer told the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) public inquiry today.
This consisted of standing under the hot sun while being verbally abused, said Supt Zahari Mohd Yusoff, who was in charge of all four FRU troops on anti-riot duty at the pro-electoral reform rally.
He had also accompanied one of the troops - Troop Four-Alpha - as it advanced along Jalan Raja Laut between 3pm to 5pm.
"I salute my subordinates. They have done as I wished," he said, adding that amongst his worries was the fear that they would take matters into their own hands.
Despite working under the hot weather and being on the receiving end of insults and projectiles, he told the inquiry panel they had exercised restraint and there had been no physical contact between the FRU and protestors, nor had they shot tear gas shells directly at them as alleged.
However, Zahari stressed that the FRU's role that day was restricted to dispersing crowds only, not to arrest protestors. That was the responsibility of other branches of the police force.
In addition, although it would be against standard operating procedures (SOP) to do so, he said he could not verify whether the three other troops had aimed their tear gas launchers directly at the protestors.
There was also a separate anti-riot unit deployed to the rally. This was the General Operations Force's Public Order and Riot Unit (Poru) which was not under his command.
[More to follow]