My Anthem

Saturday, May 05, 2012

KimQ enquires into the chain of violence at Bersih3.0 rally...

Infamy of April 28: a pre-planned conspiracy?
By Kim Quek
There have been many comments that the breach of barricade to Dataran Merdeka which marks the beginning of violence in the otherwise peaceful Bersih 3.0 rally was a plot to justify subsequent police brutality.  But where is the hard evidence?  Some based their opinion on the absence of police guarding the barricade, and some say the police were running away at the time of breach of barricade.
I happened to stumble on the following video clip, which in my view, will provide the answer:
At 3:00 minute of the video, titled Bersih 3.0  428_Part 5 Masjid Jamek, a 3-row thick police guards were seen standing behind the plastic and steel barricade, face to face against an agitating crowd obviously more than keen to get into the square. 
Then suddenly, all the guarding policemen turned around and ran quickly away from the barricade towards where the water cannon trucks and riot squad were positioned some distance away along the road.  That sudden withdrawal of policemen was apparently taken by the spirited crowd as a signal that they could move in. 
Within seconds of the policemen leaving the barricade when they were probably about 30 meters away from the fence, the first removal and toppling of the barricade was seen and heard.  Following that breach, which took place simultenously at several locations along the fencing line, a sea of people rushed into the hitherto prohibited stretch of Jalan Raja – only to be attacked with water cannon and tear gas by the waiting police force. The rest is history, as this opening shot ushered in the most savage police crackdown on peaceful demonstrators Malaysians have ever seen.
What observations can we draw from these brief seconds of drama before the police onslaught?
The police had been zealously guarding the Dataran Merdeka compound with layers of barricades including razor sharp barbed wire since pre-dawn, indicating their determination to defend the prohibited ground at all costs. Then why the sudden pull back of guards when they were most needed to fend off an emotionally charged crowd eager to move into the square?
The fact that all the guards turned around simultaneously and ran quickly away from the barricades indicates that they had been briefed beforehand, otherwise they would have been puzzled and it would have taken them quite a while to comprehend the sudden command in such a noisy atmosphere where the human voice could hardly be heard.
Who could have made such a monumental decision as the abandoning  of the defence of the Dataran ground if not the highest authority?
And why did the police pull back if not for the purpose of inducing the crowd into the snaring police force?
And there are enough snapshots from video clips showing mysterious personnel in black jacket removing the steel barricade and waving the crowd to move over to deduce that the simultaneous acts of police withdrawal and barricade removal were pre-planned to induce the demonstrators into the lair.
To the conspirators, wouldn’t the breach of barricade be the perfect legal justification for a  police onslaught?
And wouldn’t police violence beget violence, which would give the ruling power a heyday in showcasing the so-called ‘riotous conduct’ of demonstrators, which the mainstream media promptly did?
And wouldn’t the physical pain suffered by many among the hundreds of thousands of participants be a powerful deterrent against future demonstration?
These surmises are not far-fetched but perhaps right on the dot, judging from the denial syndrome suffered by top police officers and top Umno ministers including Prime Minister. They not only pretend ignorance of widespread unlawful police violence but squarely pin the chaos on leaders of Bersih and opposition parties.
However, Umno hardliners have made one fatal mistake.  They forget that this is no more the age when Mahathir reigned supreme.  This is the age of Internet and i-phones when almost everyone can capture sound and vision anytime anywhere and disseminate them instantly across the planet. There is no way Umno can hide the brutalities inflicted on its own people.  In fact thousands of messages and videos have been circulating non-stop in the Internet and i-phones showing how ordinary Malaysians have suffered in the hands of the country’s cruel rulers since the day of infamy on April 28.
The day of reckoning for Umno will come, sooner than they think.

Kim Quek


And what warms Desi's heART is seeing MChronicle coming back after one day of rest. Keep up the GOoD work, MC teAm!

And following is a good summing up by a member of MC teAm:)~~~~~~~

Friday, 04 May 2012 12:14

Bersih 3.0: Can Najib and BN recover from the blow of the mammoth rally?

Written by  Moaz Nair, Malaysia Chronicle
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Bersih 3.0: Can Najib and BN recover from the blow of the mammoth rally?
The police put up roadblocks in the entire city. DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) locked down the whole perimeter of the historical square (Dataran Merdeka) with razor sharp barb wires.
There was a court order that the historical square will be closed for four days depriving BERSIH 3.0 of any chance of having a mass sit-in protest at the venue.
The protestors were locked at six points in the city with most roads inaccessible. These unnecessary steps taken to deter BERSIH 3.0 peaceful protest caused the chaos and traffic congestion in the city on 28 April, 2012.
However, 28 April 2012 made history in Malaysia. First was the gathering of over 250,000 patriots in support of BERSIH 3.0’s demand for a fair and free election in the country.
This was a huge show of people’s power.  Never before in the history of Malaysia had this number of people populated the streets of Kuala Lumpur City to show their displeasure for the incumbent government.
Very bad image for Najib’s government
The supposedly sit-in protest saw a united Malaysia with people of all races and religions insouciantly walking about to show their discontentment for the country’s electoral process. The BERSIH 3.0 rally was however solely civil society initiatives.
There were some quarters in UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN) that anticipated racial clashes if this event were to proceed but this did not happen. They instead saw a true 1Malaysia spirit under BERSIH 3.0 where all Malaysians were seen united against tyranny.
The rally was generally peaceful and managed to draw an unprecedented huge crowd and this worries Prime Minister Najib Razak and UMNO-led BN more.
If it had been a totally peaceful and incident-free rally UMNO-led BN and their media would have no ammo to be used to denounce the protest. Thus, a political observer had this to say: “The peaceful gathering was in the later part deliberately provoked to cause some undesirable scenes for the pro-government media to use as ammo against BERSIH or for that matter, the Opposition.”
As usual, UMNO-led BN blamed the Opposition for the skirmishes that ended the rally. But foreign news reported otherwise, “It was police ‘violence’ at the crowd that has given a very bad image for Najib’s government. The police would not have reacted in such a crude way without ‘order’ from higher authorities.”
Cheering in festive mood
The biggest blunder, according to critics, the UMNO-led government made was not to allow the historical square to be the sole venue for the mass sit-in protest by BERSIH 3.0.   Deprived of the historical location the protesters gathered at six points in the city before some chose to break the barricades in the midst of the event.
Even this they did in a festive mood.  And according to a foreign reporter, after observing the protesters mood, he described, “Their cheerful manner of protest did not show any hunch that they were there to cause violence.”
The rally started off peacefully. It was soon after this that the security barricade was breached. Still after that the rally had been largely peaceful with the patriots cheering in a festive mood.  The crowd broke loose when they were provoked with water cannons and tear gas.
If the authorities had allowed the crowd to use the historical square and shown more restraint, the chances of the rally becoming muddled would have been least.
The UMNO-led government made two blunders that resulted in the spill over of thousands of protesters to the streets.
First, when they disallowed the historical square to be used for the mass sit-in protest. Second, the authorities reacted pugnaciously when the protesters crashed into the unnecessary barricades set up to deter the crowd from getting into or march towards the historical square.
The excitement and love
For patriotic reasons, BERSIH 3.0 protesters wanted the historical square liberated and to stand true to its name. It was the excitement and love for the country that some protesters breached the barricades around and leading to the square. This was not perceived as bellicosity by many critics but a mere expression of their patriotic feelings for a better Malaysia.
“And their aim was to rally peacefully and if the police had not reacted to this push no scuffles would have happened,” said a local reporter.
“The unleashing of water cannons and tear gas upon the peaceful protesters seemed like pre-planned,” commented a foreign observer.  “This “unjust violence” by the police has further destroyed Najib’s image,” he added.
It was the breaking of those barricades, however, that unleashed the water cannons and tear gas upon the strong crowd who were literally trapped within barricades and roadblocks. In the first place, many felt that the barricades were totally unnecessary.  In the absence of the barricades and roadblocks could have seen the crowd protesting and dispersing in peace.
Unnecessary court order
Seeking an unnecessary court order for the historical square to be a forbidden area for a number of days to coincide with BERSIH 3.0 protest worsens the situation. Critics have the opinion that, allowing the historical square to be used would have seen a very peaceful sit-in protest.
It was poor discretion on the part of DBKL and the UMNO-led BN government not to allow the historical square to be used for this purpose. And critics feel that the police were not justified in using the removal of the barricades as an excuse to go on a rampage.
This made many critics feel that “it seemed as if they were just waiting for an opportunity to do so”.
The people crammed up around the square naturally wanted the removal of the barricades. Those gathered at other six points too expressed their frustrations and wanted to walk peacefully to the historical square.  The failure of the authorities to use their horse sense in allowing the people to walk free and gather at the historical square was the ultimate cause of all the humiliation for Najib.
The authorities were needlessly imperious and this resulted in some encounters which otherwise could have been avoided.  It was their thoughtless actions that resulted in many glitches which otherwise could have been avoided.
The authorities were gripped in seeing the crowd confined to the six points of gathering. They were needlessly obsessed in protecting the historical square from being occupied by a peace-loving movement. And the people just could not understand why.
A free and fair election
If common sense had prevailed and the protesters were been granted access to the historical square for about two to four hours the rally would not have turned ugly. The crowd would have been controlled and dispersed peacefully. The police could have monitored the situation instead of having to confront them violently.
Provoking the crowd was not the solution unless that was deliberately planned.  But many critics have the view that the provocation was calculatingly planned for the media to paint BERSIH and the Opposition black.
The people are against tyranny. They want a true democracy and they are mature enough for this.
Blame Najib then for the fiasco. He had all the power to tell DBKL to allow the historical square for the mass sit-in protest. He too had the power to tell the police to refrain from using force on the protesters.  Unfortunately, Najib was adamant. He still pretends not to understand what the people want.
The people want free and fair elections, which Najib is not willing to accommodate for fear of losing power. When leaders fail the people they have no choice but to express their unhappiness in numbers in a democratic way. Najib, the police and government must take full responsibility for the damages suffered during the rally on that historical day.
Against tyranny
Democracy is not all about having new laws, new mantras or new promises.  What the people want is freedom to choose a fair, free and corrupt-free government.
The protesters on that day comprised young and old, and people of all backgrounds. The large presence of young people has now given hope for the future of the country. These are patriots who want a better Malaysia for all Malaysians. Najib thus should not ignore the people’s rights. These patriots will continue rising up against tyranny. BERSIH 3.0 may not be the last of the rallies for change for them. They will again rise up peacefully to assure Malaysians that their rights are not trampled.
BERSIH has succeeded in uniting Malaysians against tyranny more than what Najib and BN have done.  The more than 250 000 patriots who took part in the rally in fact represent the majority Malaysians. Many international delegates and foreign reporters have held that the rally was commendable, as it showed that Malaysians were determined to uphold democracy and the event portrayed unity in a nation of racial and religious diversity.
One of the foreign observers commented, “Those who turned up were challenging the shadow of fear.” “The rally was laudable as it showed that Malaysians were determined to uphold democracy despite the hardships faced when attending the rally,” he added.
The mainstream media is completely biased
“One crucial element for democracy is freedom from fear and the right to assemble peacefully, said an independent observer.  “The media has to be fair and report the truth,” he added. Unfortunately, the media controlled by UMNO-led government was giving an unfair coverage of what really happened during the rally.
“The mainstream media is completely biased and unfair when covering the rally,” said another independent observer from overseas.
Demonstrations were the right of citizens in a democratic country, and he was distressed that some members of government believe Malaysia does not deserve democracy.
As the foreign observer put it, “The demonstration itself was peaceful, and the unnecessary violence that occurred was planned provocation to provide images for the officially sanctioned media. The mainstream media was “completely biased and unfair” in the coverage of the rally but this will give no impact on the majority. Even the relentless negative propaganda on the event by the media prior to the event did not deter the people from gathering in the city to support BERSIH 3.0.
The BERSIH 3.0 rally however was peaceful until the police acted provocatively. “The crowd had ample time to turn violent if they had wanted to. There was a festive mood until the provocation happened,” said another foreign observer.
“When most people were dispersing the police was supposed to control the crowd and not to turn aggressors as they did on the slightest of provocations. Tear gas, water cannons fired at the dispersing crowd were unnecessary,” he added.
Political consequence
The political consequence will be severe for Najib and UMNO-led government. The size of BERSIH 3.0 crowd has sent a grim reminder to Najib that there must be fair and free elections in the country.
Najib cannot ignore the huge crowd that turned up for the rally and the forcefulness that blemished the event at the historical square.  The success of BERSIH 3.0 is a gesture for the government to immediately look into the demands for free and fair elections. Failing to do so will further incur the wrath of the patriots.
“If the people's demands are still not met, we are prepared to organise a bigger rally with a turnout much higher than BERSIH 3.0 until our protests are heard,” said an Opposition lawmaker.
What the people can be sure of for now is that the provocation against the patriots during the BERSIH 3.0 rally will be translated into votes against UMNO-led BN in the next general elections.
Malaysia Chronicle

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