PETALING JAYA: Police will use “crowd dispersal methods” on political rallies today if necessary to ensure the safety of the public, according to a government official.
The highly-placed official, who asked not to be named, said that the people should think twice about taking part in today’s rallies, which have been planned by the Bersih and the Red Shirt groups.
“The government will not tolerate or accept moves by these two groups of demonstrators to cause chaos and violence on the streets of Kuala Lumpur and across Malaysia,” said the official. “The security forces will ensure the safety of all Malaysians, even if this means that the police will have to use crowd dispersal methods.”
The official did not state what “crowd dispersal methods” would be used.
In the past, police have used tear gas and water cannon on demonstrators at street rallies. However, last year’s massive Bersih went on peacefully in the streets around Dataran Merdeka for 36 hours during the Merdeka weekend.
The government source said today’s demonstrations were viewed as a serious threat to the safety and security of all Malaysians. Police had been deployed in large numbers across the city and the country to pre-empt any acts of violence.
Several leaders of the rival movements have also been detained by police The official said the action was aimed at preventing them from further inciting their followers.
About 14 people are reported to have been arrested, including Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah, Red Shirts leader Jamal Yunos, as well as other activists, youth leaders and two MPs of the DAP.
“It is in the interest of both sides to call off the demonstrations as it will achieve nothing except disrupt the businesses operating in down town Kuala Lumpur and cause a gridlock in traffic,” said the official. “We urge the rakyat to think twice before supporting either side and taking part in the demonstrations that only serves to fulfil the agenda of their leaders, with little or no concern for the rakyat.” -FMT