A crowd of 2000 who were protesting against the fuel price increase experienced police jetting chemical-laced water on them as they tried to match from Petronas Twin Tower to the Concorde Hotel in Jalan Sultan Ismail, just about 500 metres away. The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) was involved as well. They charged the crowd who then sought refuge in a nearby building.
It was a hide & seek game – police went off, crowd reassembled, police came, they dispersed. Some shouts of ‘reformasi’ were heard.
The Police have a tendency to be heavy handed with public rallies or protestors, unless of course the protestors are UMNO Youth (or BN) members. Why not let the crowd march peacefully to where they wanted to go, so long as they didn’t vandalise the neighbourhood?
The Malaysian Police should see how the Police of other countries, like Australia, handled protestors. The law officers would actually escort the marching and shouting protestors, sometimes using outriders if necessary. Conflicting road traffic would be held up to allow protestors to march unimpeded.
The basic aim has always been safety for everyone - for the marching protestors, neighbourhood and motorists. Unfortunately in Malaysia, Police treat protestors as the enemies when they actually ought to be looking after them as citizens.
There is of course a reason for this difference – the Malaysian Police have shown themselves to be nothing more than the praetorian guards of the ruling party.