RM23,000 in tear gas hurled at Bersih marchers

By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — Some 226 tear gas canisters and 36 smoke grenades worth RM22,886 were used to disperse the tens of thousands who gathered on July 9 to support Bersih’s call for free and fair elections.

The Home Ministry said, in a parliamentary reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), that each “Tear Smoke Shell” cost RM79.76 while “Tear Some Grenades” were valued at RM135 each.

File photo of tear gas fired to disperse the thousands at the July 9 rally.
Opposition leaders have accused police of attempted murder during the rally, claiming that tear gas shells were aimed directly at demonstrators with intention to harm.

The ministry also said on Tuesday that police were found to have breached standard operating procedures when dealing with marchers who had converged at the Tung Shin Hospital.

The government had said earlier this week that more than RM2 million was spent deploying over 11,000 police officers to “handle” the outlawed rally by the electoral reform group.

The protest turned chaotic when the police fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands of demonstrators, resulting in scores injured and the death of ex-soldier Baharuddin Ahmad, 59.

The ministry also clarified today that the total number of arrests on July 9 was 1,509, 97 of whom were female.