Red shirt rally: We used minimal force, say policemen

KUALA LUMPUR - Police used minimal force to disperse the Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu protesters who tried to enter Petaling Street despite being warned not to do so.

Deputy director for commercial crimes unit SAC Roslan Abd Wahid, who monitored the scene, said police had given the protesters ample time to leave.

"This was despite the fact that this particular road was not listed in the permit given to them.

"We understood there were women and children in the group, so we let them sit and rest for a while along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock," he said.

He also said police had allowed three "group leaders" to enter Petaling Street under supervision.

"We took three of them in to see for themselves that there was no­­thing and no one in there besides policemen. There was no reason for them to demand to go inside, so I cannot answer why they wanted to go in," he said.

On the use of water cannons at 4.35pm, SAC Roslan said the authorities had no other option.

"They tried to breach the barricade and when they pushed the officers, a few policemen fell and were injured.

"We had to push the protesters back, so some of those further down also fell. Protesters who fell picked up water bottles, rocks and traffic cones and threw them in our direction, but some of the items hit their fellow protesters instead," he added.

SAC Roslan said he informed Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar of the matter and asked for an influential political fi­gure to intervene.

Malay NGOs Coalition president Datuk Jamal Mohd Yunus was brought in to speak to the crowd and eventually managed to get them to disperse at around 7.15pm.

At 7.42pm, police and the Federal Reserve Unit personnel stood down from barricading the entrance to Petaling Street. Both sides of Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock were eventually opened at 8.04pm.

Later yesterday, KL police chief Comm Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa said two rally-goers, aged 24 and 30, were held and being investigated for instigating the crowd to breach the police barricade in Petaling Street.