By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — The Najib administration’s civil suit against Bersih 2.0 is riddled with uncertainty over how the damage to 15 vehicles worth RM122,000 claimed by the government was caused, PKR said today.
President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (picture) said in a statement the suit filed yesterday was “for damage done by others, who include agent provocateurs” at the April 28 rally organised by the electoral reform movement.
She said “the police have not ascertained who damaged the police vehicles” but Putrajaya was already bringing a civil suit against Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and nine other steering committee members.
“It is also not transparent how the damage has been assessed in the first place, because there were no witnesses from both parties. Could it be possible that some damage has been further done to the vehicles in order to create a bigger loss?” she said.
Yesterday, the 10 Bersih leaders became the first persons to be sued in a civil action under the Peaceful Assembly Act, introduced just days before the April 28 demonstration.
Bersih was sued under section 6(2)(g) of the law, which Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said would allow freedom of assembly “in accordance with international norms,” for failing to “ensure that the assembly will not endanger health or cause damage to property or the environment.”
The April 28 rally that saw tens of thousands gather at six different locations before heading to Dataran Merdeka was peaceful until about 2.30pm when Ambiga asked the crowd to disperse.
But her announcement was not heard by most of the crowd who persisted to linger 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 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.