Thursday, June 01, 2006

IGP explains why Force was Necessary: Police vs Price Hike Protesters

From the Star: IGP: Cops used minimal force

KUALA LUMPUR: Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar has defended the action of his men against demonstrators at the KLCC on Sunday, saying they had used minimal force to disperse the protesters.
Refer to previous blogs, here and here.
"Every time our men told them to bersurai (disperse), instead of retreating, they moved forward. They became very abusive and confrontational," he said. He added that the police had a job to do and if they did not do it there would be chaos. He said the on-the-scene commander had allowed the demonstrators some 20 minutes to say their piece and disperse. "When they refused to disperse, it was then that the FRU Troop Commander decided to spray the water.

"While running away, one of the demonstrators fell because the ground was slippery.
Only one? Was it the big dude with the cracked head? So you're saying he did a Humpty Dumpty, slipped and fell on his head?!
The decision to spray water was reasonable to break up the unlawful assembly. "It is very unfortunate that in the course of dispersing these people, several of them were hurt. My men never intended to use any force at all," he said. "But what do you expect my men to do when confronted by these people? We have the right to defend ourselves when confronted."

He said allowing a demonstration without a permit could threaten the peace and security of the area concerned. "Businesses could be affected and people would not want to go there any more for fear of their safety and we will be blamed," he added.
It all sounds so rational. Force was necessary because the crowd...

- refused to disperse. Instead of retreating, they moved forward.
- was abusive and confrontational.
- a demonstration without a permit threatens peace and security.
- business affected, people fear for their safety and the police will be blamed.

But WAIT!..... Is it just me or does this scenario sound familiar? Weren't the protestors outside the Cititel Hotel on just 2 weeks ago (14 May 2006), protesting against the forum entitled "Federal Constitution: Protecting All", doing the very same thing? Reports were that they were much more belligerent.

Previous blog here.

Did the police raise their batons against this illegal demonstration? No, they decided to placate them and instead told the forum to pack it up and go home.

Why the double standards? Why the inconsistency of action? What were the decision points?

What are the latent reasons that the police decided to appease a violent, racist and constitutionally ignorant gang of ruffians, but on the other hand cut down using their batons and water cannons - what looked to me like a bunch of picnic-going families with an idealistic streak?
Is it because the latter played the religious and racial card, therefore the police absconded from their professional duty, just like the High Court?

Or... are the police taking sides? Well, they did say as much when they 'mistakenly' published a report rejecting the IPCMC. Previous blog here.

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