Malaysia

Police free all arrested during Bersih rally

Police officers arrest a man during the Bersih rally near Dataran Merdeka, in Kuala Lumpur, April 28, 2012.  —Picture by Choo Choy MayPolice officers arrest a man during the Bersih rally near Dataran Merdeka, in Kuala Lumpur, April 28, 2012. —Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — Police have released the last of those detained during yesterday’s tumultuous Bersih 3.0 rally here and put the final figure those arrested at 512 people, The Star reported on its website today.

According to city police chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh, there were also 25 women and five youths among the detainees.

Yesterday’s Bersih rally for free and fair elections turned chaotic when Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel began firing tear gas and water cannons after demonstrators breached police lines in their attempt to reach Dataran Merdeka.

The event was initially planned for the historic square but authorities had secured a court order on Friday barring its use for public assemblies until May 1, forcing Bersih supporters to splinter into groups.

Police fired as far as the DBKL premises, which are across Jalan Parlimen, and the move broke up the crowd who fled helter-skelter but police chased them down at Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Raja Laut.

Angry protestors later attacked a police car, which then crashed into at least two people while trying to flee.

Despite most of the crowd of over 25,000 dispersing, a pocket of 1,000 demonstrators then engaged in open battle with riot police near Masjid Jamek.

Yesterday’s arrests were far fewer than the 1,667 detained in the Bersih 2.0 rally in the city held in July 9 last year.

But reports are emerging of a more violent reaction from authorities this time, with allegations of racial abuse and attacks on the media still surfacing.

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