We were ambushed, Bersih chief Ambiga tells Suhakam inquiry

(The Star) – “They were not trying to disperse us. They were trying to harm us”

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 2.0 chief Datuk S. Ambiga took the stand at the Suhakam public inquiry to testify about her experience at KL Sentral during the rally.

She said she was at the KL Sentral underpass exit after they left KL Hilton to proceed to Stadium Merdeka when police fired tear gas canisters towards them.

“I really thought I was going to die. There was an excessive use of tear gas.

“I could not breathe … I could not see. My bodyguard had to literally drag me out,” she testified before an inquiry set up to look into alleged human rights violations by the authorities during the rally on July 9.

Ambiga said she believed the police had “ambushed” the group at the underpass after they left the KL Hilton to proceed to Stadium Merdeka.

“They were not trying to disperse us. They were trying to harm us,” she claimed, adding that the police came from both ends of the tunnel.

Earlier, she told the inquiry that she feared for the safety of her family and herself leading up to the rally, saying she personally faced intimidation from “state actors and non-state actors”.

“These included personal threats to my safety and calls for removal of my citizenship. There were many reports in the media referring to allegations of anti-Islam activities that I was allegedly involved in including representing Lina Joy (Muslim convert Azlina Jailani),” she said.

She said she hired bodyguards as she felt her safety was at risk, saying she believed she was being followed and that her phone was tapped.

The inquiry, chaired by Suhakam vice-chairman Prof Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee is tentatively set to resume on Feb 13 when Ambiga will continue her testimony.