Khamis, 6 Ogos 2009

Tear-gas happy cops blamed for millions lost

S Pathmawathy
Aug 4, 09

The financial losses incurred by businesses in Kuala Lumpur during the anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) rally was not caused by the protesters but rather the police, said Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

"We regret the problems faced by the people not only on the day of the protest but also the day before with all the roadblocks and barricades set up by the police," said PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli (left).

He said businesses would not have been affected if not for the chaos caused by the police with the firing of tear gas and water cannons.

"We are confident that the damage was not caused by the people but by the police when they used the tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.

"But I noticed that some businesses were making good profit on that day... especially those who were selling drinks," he quipped during a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

Hatta was responding to reports from the Federal Territory Ministry that over RM100 to RM200 million were lost during last Saturday's protest, which drew tens of thousands.

'Selective punishment'

Meanwhile, PKR vice-president and Subang MP R Sivarasa (right) condemned the authorities' decision to charge 29 people, including a 16-year-old juvenile, in connection with the rally.

"The act of selective punishment is clearly intended at intimidating those who participated in the peaceful gathering and an attempt to threaten future assemblies," he told the same press conference.

Sivarasa, who was arrested and freed on police bail, condemned the "violence" meted out by the police on women and minors during the protest.

The MP also dismissed the allegation that the protesters were responsible for the financial losses.

"Anyone can see that if the police had been instructed by their Barisan Nasional masters to allow the rally, one would have had a peaceful rally and the tens of thousands present would have boosted business instead," he said.

Sivarasa added that the cops could have worked hand-in-hand with the organisers to ensure that there were "minimal disruption to traffic and movement of persons."

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