Tan Sri Ismail Omar refused today to comment directly on various allegations of police brutality, but repeatedly insisted his force would investigate all claims “openly and be fair to all.”
He told a press conference the police had shown “full restraint for over four hours” until protestors breached the barricade blocking them from Dataran Merdeka, which the court had barred the public from entering across the weekend.
“You are creating the idea I’m a guilty person. You’re not being fair to me. What is important is we will investigate openly and be fair to all,” he said when asked why police had chased demonstrators down several streets after firing tear gas and water cannons at them.
He also refused to say how many tear gas canisters were fired at demonstrators but asked reporters to imagine “if no tear gas or water cannon was used, what would happen?”
“If no action was taken to disperse, an open battle could have happened and created a more dangerous situation for both sides,” he said.
On Saturday, a pocket of 1,000 demonstrators had engaged in open battle with riot police near Masjid Jamek after 6pm, despite most of the crowd dispersing earlier.
A police officer was seen dragging a man across the road, which resulted in Bersih supporters attacking the police with broken bottles, mineral water bottles and broken concrete slabs.
A convoy of police vehicles ferrying Mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail in one of its cars was forced to make a U-turn near Masjid Jamek when met with a hostile reception from protestors who threw shoes and broken concrete slabs at them, smashing the windows of two cars.
This occurred after police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse tens of thousands of demonstrators, following a breach of the barricade in front of DBKL and rushed into Dataran Merdeka.
Saturday’s rally was electoral reform watchdog Bersih’s third in just over four years.
Police fired as far as the DBKL premises, which are across Jalan Parlimen, and the move broke up the crowd who fled helter-skelter but police chased them down at Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Raja Laut.
Angry protestors later attacked a police car, which then crashed into at least two people while trying to flee.
After an ambulance took away the injured policemen, the protestors flipped the car over on its side but then fled after tear gas was fired.
Police also arrested over 500 protestors, about a third of those detained in a similar rally on July 9 last year where a clampdown by the government saw Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration being widely condemned by the international press.
Today, Ismail also accused Bersih today of not keeping its word to hold a peaceful rally on Saturday but “a street demonstration that turned into a riot.”
“The rule was not to engage. We just facilitated and observed,” the police chief said.
He also screened a seven-minute video to reporters showing how protestors broke through the barriers at Dataran Merdeka and also attacked the police patrol car, causing it to crash, before flipping it on its side.
Isn't it strange that the protesters who were provoking the police were all wearing yellow wrist-bands? Was it a coincidence or a sinister plot?
A correct hypo thesis: In reality it was the police in plain clothes who started all the commotion. This was after they saw that the assembly of people was peaceful without any ugly incidents which would definitely make the BERSIH gathering 100 percent a success. So they planted some moles to start up the situation to look like the protesters were irresponsible. The commotion started immediately after dispersion orders were given with the shutting down of the LRT stations and making the crowd look rowdy.
I watched several You Tube posted on Bersih 3. I am SHOCKED and FLABBERGASTED that our police can be so cruel to a fellow human being. Groups of policemen caught single protestor a, kicked, beat the hepless victim. Some policemen were seen attacking the victim from behind - what a cowardly act from our so-called protector of Malaysian society. SHAME of you the so-called polceman. Your behavior is WORST than an animal. I cannot help expressed my disgust at you
There is nothing to investigate! The Government, Polices and media have dressed up the news. Indeed quite silly to confiscate reporters camera. There are thousaands of people there and all are taking proof and the Government want to investigate ? This is our Malaysian authority mentality. Still in the denying state.
This is not the way to answer the public's concern. Why can't you just say that you will definitely punish the men in blue if they were found guilty of abuse of power and wrongdoing? Instead, you chose to defend yourself and your men by throwing back hypothetical questions back to the reporters, such as "what would happen if the police did not fire the tear gases?" You know what? Nobody knew for sure what would happen but I can tell you nothing untoward like in Saturday would happen if your men showed "more" restraint.
If no action was taken to disperse, an open battle could have happened and created a more dangerous situation for both sides,” . How can you investigate when before you investigate you already say those crazy dogs did the right thing. Anyway, no one in their right mind believe your "investigation" will come out with anything sensible.
Please lah, use your otak lah, the police and FRUs are the only ones armed. what could possibly happen just because people are wearing yellow? yellow fever is it? Any of the 400+ arrested carry arms or wearpons or not?
Dangerous? For whom? BN is it ? Talk no sense !
This IGP thinks that we malaysians are all fools! Your question-what happens if no tear gas canisters or water canons used? My answer is- we would all go home happy and without incidents! How can u justify yr force to chase us all, who have started to leave the place, waiting for our trains.We were having dinner, and you barge inside and arrested us, before that, causing injury to some of us, just because your force said we were wearing yellow? And now you want to justify your stupid action by saying what would have happened if no tear gas was used? Bersih 4.0- lets do it again, now we must be more than prepared! I hv lost trust in the police and FRU
He told a press conference the police had shown “full restraint for over four hours”.... Aiyoh, this goon is really a gone case. Hello, do you know the duties of the policemen? It is to ensure law and order, this is what they are trained to do. Not to go on a rampage in group of 10 and start beating up unarmed citizens.
If even the IGP do not know what is the basic fundamental duty of the police, thinking this "full restrain", what hope is the police force. Change is the only alternative, change the whole government.
Thx IGP, you made BERSIH 3 trully memorable. You were the climax. Now hundred of thousands of Malaysians will go home hating Umno. People who were hit by your tear gas will always return to face you. You really made my day. Thank you very much. God bless.
After seeing the videos of police brutality, it comes as to surprise to me that even more so, people can get beaten up while they are in prison or in police custody. Remember how DSAI got his black eye?