PETALING JAYA, Nov 17 ― The police are duty bound to prevent the rival Red Shirts movement from holding its counter rally to Bersih 5 this Saturday, prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said today.
The former Bersih 2.0 chairman cited Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly Act, which states that the district police chief must provide an alternative date, time or venue for the organiser of a counter rally to ensure clashes between demonstrators.
“The Red Shirts have made it clear that their rally is a counter-rally,” Ambiga told reporters at Bersih 2.0’s office here.
“The solution is simple, the counter-rally can be redirected to another time and location,” she added.
Ambiga was responding to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s expression of concern earlier today that supporters of both groups may clash if the demonstrations proceeded in the national capital here on Saturday as scheduled.
Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Maria Chin who was also at the same press conference accused the Red Shirts, led by Sungai Besar Umno chief Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos, of repeated harassment and intimidation against her electoral reform group’s supporters.
She said their actions in the run-up to the Saturday rally warranted the police to step in, but claimed the force had yet to do so.
“Violence should not be normalised but we are seeing this more regularly. Police reports have been made, we have been harassed, intimidated, our cars have been damaged.
“We even see them shout at people in front of their children. But we still don’t see any action taken,” Maria said.
Red Shirts were reported to have harassed Bersih supporters during their nationwide campaign to mobilise support for Bersih 5 since October by tailing them, surrounding individuals handing out leaflets and repeatedly demanding explanations in loud voices.
More recently, Jamal was recorded on video as saying he would “chop up” Bersih supporters during an altercation with police present that left him with a bloodied nose.
But Ambiga interjected and commended the police for protecting Bersih supporters during their nationwide tour even though no action has been taken to stop Jamal and his followers.
“The men in blue have been outstanding,” she said.
She hoped the police would continue to serve and facilitate Saturday’s rally. – Malay Mail Online