Press Release by TIan Chua on the Brutal Teargas Attack at the KL Sentral Tunnel

Posted on July 28, 2011

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The title of this post is in fact the unedited heading of a press statement released by YB Tian Chua that I received by email.

The full text of the same is reproduced below.

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On July 21, the PDRM held a press conference to justify the  violent conduct of police personnel. An edited video footage was released to the press in order to show that BERSIH demonstrators were aggressive and provocative. The PDRM claimed that they had only used minimal force against the peaceful assembly.

One particular clip showed the scene where the crowd marching out of the KL Sentral were  met by a row of policemen.  The video is said to show  me leading the demonstrators running to  the front. The PDRM asserted that it was an evidence of provocation.

Subsequently the video has been broadcast on prime time TV almost daily, with the objective of depicting BERSIH rally as violent. This edited video does  not give the true picture of what happened at the tunnel that day.

The PDRM has launched an all-out media propaganda war to demonize BERSIH. Although the police did not specifically accused me for “charging”  the police, reports in mainstream media  insinuate that I and other demonstrators intended to “attack” or cause physical harm to the police officers.

This is far from the truth. From the video, it was clear that the policemen had their guns loaded with tear gas canisters. At the time, the crowd was trapped in an tunnel-like enclosed area. The group included BERSIH chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan, Anwar Ibrahim, Wan Azizah, Hadi Awang, Lim Kit Siang and other leaders and participants.

For anybody in that circumstances could notice the danger of staying in the enclosure once the police fire the tear gas. The video footage only showed a few people rushed out toward the open air, and tear gas was fired directly into the crowd.

The video also showed that the police fired the tear gas canisters horizontally into the enclosed zone non-stopped. The police action was evidently malicious and intended to cause maximum harm to the peaceful group without warning. It was unprovoked and unwarranted action. It was police brutality

Hundreds of people were eye-witnesses to the incident. The edited video cannot distort the truth. The government should accept the responsibility of excessive force against peaceful BERSIH rally. The witch-hunt whether on me or other participants cannot absolve the guilt of brutality on 9 July.

The video also showed that the police fired the tear gas canisters horizontally into the enclosed zone non-stop. At least 12 shells were fired in a matter of a couple of minutes. 3 persons suffered injury to the head. The injuries suffered by Anwar Ibrahim’s  bodyguard Fayyadh Afiq Al Baqry who had his left cheekbone crushed were particularly serious.

The police action was evidently malicious and intended to cause serious injury to the defenseless demonstrators. Use of tear gas in such a manner has been known to cause death.The incident was eye-witnessed by hundreds of people and even the edited video cannot distort the truth. The government should accept the responsibility of excessive force against peaceful BERSIH rally. The witch-hunt whether on me or other participants cannot absolve the guilt of brutality on 9 July.

I call upon the police to cooperate fully with the impending SUHAKAM inquiry where I believe the facts will be presented by all interested parties in a public inquiry. Let the public then judge based on those facts.

Tian Chua
Vice President Parti Keadilan Rakyat
Member of Parliament
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