Situation was under control before demonstrators broke through the barricade, says KL police chief.
KUALA LUMPUR: The city police have blamed participants of Bersih 3.0 rally for the event turning violent towards its tail end.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh said the situation was under control until 2.55pm prior to speeches by opposition leaders at the rally, which called for free and fair election.
“After 2.50pm some of the demonstrators tried to break through the police barricade at Dataran Merdeka.
“This was the barricade placed at the junction of Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. They also threw objects at the police.
“Once they broke through the barricades, we decided to fire water cannons to disperse the crowd. When they continued, we fired the tear gas,” he said in a statement today.
The city police are also expected to release those arrested later this evening.
“We are trying to ascertain the number of arrests made so far… we will inform the media of the numbers and where they are being taken,” a senior police officer told FMT.
Eye-witnesses on the ground reveal that four bus loads of those arrested are being ferried to an undisclosed location. They are expected to be taken to the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) for their statements to be recorded.
FMT learnt that 229 demonstrators were detained by the police earlier today. However more were arrested as the police fired fresh rounds of tear gas and water cannon again at about 7pm.
A team of lawyers aligned to Bersih are waiting at the Pulapol to assist those arrested. So far they have not been allowed access to the detainees.
“We have been waiting for around an hour and half. The police have remained quite. They said that they have orders but are not saying anything beyond that,” said PKR leader and lawyer Latheefa Koya.