(The Malaysian Insider) - The federal government accused the federal opposition today of provoking protestors at the April 28 rally for free and fair elections to "be aggressive" and defy a court order barring them from Dataran Merdeka.
This comes after the Najib administration had claimed last month Bersih was an attempted coup and there were elements in the rally which wanted death and bloodshed.
The home ministry said during question time in Parliament this morning it had deployed 9,274 policemen on the day "based on information we gathered that we would face threats from demonstrators."
"In a countdown event on April 26, the opposition and NGOs incited over 3,000 who attended to be aggressive," Deputy Home Minister Datuk Abu Seman Yusop said, adding that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders told participants to "take Dataran Merdeka if it is only guarded by police."
The Masjid Tanah MP said that it had information that volunteers from PAS's Unit Amal, PKR's Angkatan Tentera Muda and DAP's Action Team (DAPAT) were told "whatever happens, they would be in Dataran Merdeka."
"Even though there was barbed wire set up by police and City Hall, they would cut it and break through," he said.
He added that during the rally, protestors hurled bottles, helmets and stones at police as well as insults of "pigs, dogs, animals."
Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang responded to the deputy minister's answer today by pointing out that police fired "three times as many tear gas canisters" compared to a similar Bersih rally on July 9, 2011, proving that "excessive and disproportionate force" by police was what caused the violence.
"This demonisation campaign is an insult to the hundreds of thousands (who attended)," the DAP parliamentary leader said over shouts by Barisan Nasional (BN) backbenchers of "racist Ipoh Timor, May 13, who caused it?"
But Abu Seman said "many came out only because the opposition incited them to be aggressive."
The planned sit-in at the historic square had ended up in chaos as police and protestors clashed for over hour fours which has resulted in the government and rally organisers blaming each other for the violence.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has also accused Bersih of an attempted coup and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has said there were elements in the rally which wanted death and bloodshed.
Umno' Sri Gading MP Datuk Mohamad Aziz also directly accused Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday of planning bloodshed and death at the rally.