DPM guarantees police action on Bersih 5, ‘Red Shirts’ rallies

Zahid Hamidi

(MMO) – Police will use the full extent of their powers on attendees of both Bersih 5 and the “Red Shirts” counter-rally, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi warned today.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also home minister, reiterated that authorities have deemed both gatherings to be unlawful, and will not hesitate to act against any who insist on attending either rally on Saturday.

“When I was wrapping up the Budget speech, I already said that action will be taken on both sides, whether it is yellow or red.

“To avoid this, both parties must stand down. The police will not compromise with any parties, with the type of action that will be taken,” Ahmad Zahid told reporters when met in the Parliament lobby today.

He then agreed with Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar who told would-be rally-goers to expect robust response from his officers.

This included the use of teargas and other riot dispersal methods, with Khalid also asking those on the receiving end not to be “angry” when his officers resort to action.

“What was said by the IGP is based on the law and both parties should abide by it. That’s the law for me,” Ahmad Zahid added.

The Bersih 5 rally by the polls reform group seeks free and fair elections, a clean government and a stronger democracy.

Its organisers, electoral watchdog group Bersih 2.0, insist that the rally has met all the requirements of the Peaceful Assembly Act, while the police insist otherwise.

The street demonstration is scheduled to take place at Dataran Merdeka, with two meeting points for protesters to gather at — Dataran Maybank and Masjid Negara — before heading to the historic square.

The “Red Shirts” led by Sungai Besar Umno division chief Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos will purportedly gather 300,000 people for a counter rally.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today expressed concern that the repeated clashes between the two groups will occur again, on a larger scale, this Saturday.