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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bersih convoy disrupted by scuffles, media threatened

What was supposed to be a calm event for Bersih's convoy turned ugly following scuffles between the electoral reform group's supporters, anti-Bersih individuals and media practitioners.
As part of its activity today, the convoy had split itself into three groups to distribute flyers to locals in Kuala Selangor in relation to the Bersih 5 rally.
The group stationed at the local Giant hypermarket, however, first saw a group of men on motorcycles - about 20 of them - circling the area twice.
It was thought that that would be the only case of intimidation but the situation started to change when Umno Youth exco leader Armand Azha Abu Hanifah arrived.
Armand and a Bersih supporter exchanged a handshake and a hug but a man beside Armand suddenly started provoking the Bersih supporter.
"Don't disturb the people of Tanjung Karang!" the man, clad in a white 'Hari Sukan Negara' T-shirt, yelled.
The situation turned chaotic as the man started yelling for no pictures to be taken.
As a result, a videographer from The Star was forced to delete his video footage. He was also pinched while the anti-Bersih group forced him to do so.
More shouting and yelling ensued but police officers stationed nearby quickly came to intervene.
One of the police officers urged everyone - both Bersih supporters and the anti-Bersih group - to disperse. 
A reporter from The Star was also forced to delete her pictures and video footage. Her colleague was roughed up as he tried to intervene.
Malaysiakini reporter was also roughed up for trying to intervene on the female reporter's behalf.
Following the scuffles, police officers detained two men and they were quickly brought away in a police car.
Earlier, a Malaysiakini photographer was threatened and punched after she took pictures of a separate anti-Bersih group gathering nearby.
As she was about to go to her car to leave the area, the photographer was punched on her shoulder and called 'Cina babi' (Chinese pig) by the men.
A car belonging to one of the anti-Bersih individuals was found containing cartons of eggs in the bonnet after police conducted checks on them.
Last week, the red shirts movement under Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Md Yunos egged and assaulted a Bersih supporter, sparking outrage on social media.
Today was supposed to be scuffle-free as Jamal yesterday said that the red shirts will not be interfering with the convoy, as they will be assisting villagers in the area to prepare for the high tide instead.
The groups that caused disturbances today, however, were not clad in red shirts but they are believed to be associated with Jamal as some of them have been observed at red shirt rallies before.
Today's Bersih convoy had earlier flagged off at the DAP headquarters in Sekinchan.
The group of some 20-over cars later stopped at Kampung Permatang in Kuala Selangor for a high tea event, filled with speeches by several activists and Pakatan Harapan leaders.
Apart from Sekinchan, today's convoys also kicked off in Penang; Kluang, Johor; Kota Baru, Kelantan and Ranau, Sabah.

- Mkini

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