As expected, water cannons were used this morning on a protest rally that consisted of around 500 people. The rally was to protest against the fuel and electricity price rise. They had gathered earlier near the Jalan Ampang entrance of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Things went OK until the 3rd speaker Ronnie Liu of the DAP expressed his gratitude to Sarawakian voters for their support given to the opposition at the recent Sarawak state elections.
No one has been sure whether that was what had sent the police mad because at that moment the police chose to issue warnings for the crowd to disperse. The crowd bravely ignored the warning with the police water cannons predictably used on them.
In my earlier posting I blogged on how the Royal Malaysian Police Warns UMNO! that they (the police) wouldn’t be able to ensure UMNO’s retention of power if the IPCMC is established. Did the police by any chance feel that the DAP’s reminder to the Peninsula-ans of urban Sarawakian’s defiant rejection of the BN was a little too provocative for comfort? Hence the call for the dispersal at that stage?
But the crowd wasn’t about to be cowed, despite the chemical-laced drenching forced upon them. Most of the crowd bravely held their ground. So plainclothes police personnel romped in to make random arrests, to intimidate the crowd.
Among those arrested were some perhaps not so randomly selected as they were DAP’s Liu, PAS' Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub and PKR deputy information chief Badrul Hisham. I am surprised Tian Chua wasn’t one of them as I was expecting that because he would usually position himself in the forefront.
The crowd tiptoed away to be out of range of the water cannons, which was when the world famous FRU charged at the crowd sending many protestors, including women and children, running for cover.
Now, you know why they are world famous, because no one in the crowd had initiated any acts of violence or destroyed public property. And women and children? Shame on the FRU. Their unjustified violence was unnecessary, brutal and utterly violent.
Yes, eyewitness reports tell of excessive violence being used by the FRU on several protestors, including PKR deputy secretary-general Zahir Hassan, who was repeatedly kicked while sprawled on the road.
That's our glorious police, our so-called public guardians but who have just revealed themselves to be private praetorian guards of UMNO, mercenaries so to speak, bashing up Malaysian public members who dared to voice any objections to government policies or decisions.
In fact, the FRU bashing was so violent that traces of blood stains could be seen at the entrance of KLCC. One protestor was believed to be hospitalised for head injuries. Dang Wangi OCPD ACP Kamal Pasha said 18 individuals were arrested; two of them were women.
A crowd of about 100 individuals went to the Pudu police station to show support for those detained. Chief protest organiser Dr Hatta Ramli of PAS is getting help to seek the release of those held.
Dr Hatta said: "Everybody is suffering from the fuel hike. Now electricity prices are also up. These two hikes will hit us hard, whether our pay is large or small."
DAP’s Ronnie Liu said: "This price increase must be dropped, otherwise we will suffer even more."
Well, Ronnie and Hatta, stop complaining. There are 2 options open: (1) accept that the police flogging (on behalf of the government) will continue until public morale bloody well improves, or (2) you can join the Project Mount Everest 2007 where there’s a nice kitty of RM1 million plus, which should, if carefully bid for, take care of participants’ electricity and fuel expenditures, for a few months at least.