On 9th July 2011, the police launched an unprovoked and brutal attack on peaceful Bersih marchers in the K.L Sentral underpass. They included Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, Bersih leader S Ambiga, Lim Kit Siang, Ustaz Hadi Awang, Dr Wan Azizah and National Laureate A Samad Said. As our entirely peaceful group entered the underpass, we were confronted by a line of FRU personnel armed with tear gas guns. PKR Vice President Tian Chua then walked towards the police line to negotiate. The police immediately responded by shouting, hitting their shields with their truncheons and pointing tear gas guns at us. Within minutes tear gas canisters were fired direct into the marchers massed together inside the underpass. Simultaneously, tear gas was also shot from the opposite side directly into the trapped group. Inside the underpass, the gas was so thick that visibility was almost zero. People were blinded and choked by the thick gas. It was a truly merciless attack that left us gasping for breath and suffocating from the gas. The attack injured Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, his bodyguard Fayadh and MP Khalid Samad. Both Fayadh and Khalid Samad sustained direct hits from tear gas canisters and were seriously injured. The following should be noted:
a) Police deliberately ignored attempts to communicate made by the group
b) No warning or dispersal order was given;
c) No time was given for the group to disperse;
d) Tear gas canisters were fired horizontally into the massed group;
e) Tear gas was fired from both directions, thus trapping the group in the underpass;
f) Tear gas was fired into the confined space of the underpass.
The actions of the police was in flagrant breach of our laws and international policing standards. It was calculated to kill, maim and injure the peaceful marchers. In particular, the firing of tear gas into the confined space of the underpass was a criminal act, which can cause serious injury or death and punishable under s.326 of the Penal Code.
We call for the investigation and prosecution of all senior officers, including the Home Minister, who were responsible for or gave orders for these criminals acts to be carried out. A Royal Commission of Inquiry must also be set up forthwith to inquire into the violent suppression of the Rakyat’s fundamental right to freely assemble by the BN government.