The Bersih stories continuePosted: May 17, 2012
The Bersih 3.0 rally/protest/sit-in/demonstration has come and gone. It’s been almost three weeks ago now since the day when tens of thousands of people filled the streets of KL with yellow. But even that being so, Bersih continues to hog the limelight.
For the first week after the rally, everywhere people were talking about the violence that occurred during what was supposed to have been a peaceful rally. Pro-Bersih people were sharing photos of police violence on Facebook, regardless of who actually took the photo itself. The police force, and pro-establishment people, were sharing photos of violence on the side of the protesters, talking about their “breaching Dataran” and going against the law.
Everywhere, we were bombarded with huge doses of photos showing bloody faces, multiple “My Bersih 3.0” stories from all types of perspectives, and incriminating “evidence” showing how the police, or protesters, were going all out to “kill” the enemy.
All this was to be expected. It’s the sort of reflex we’ve all gotten used to when responding to accusations of violence and disregard for the law.
But when the police force came out with a list of people suspected of creating violence during the rally, complete with photos, I was surprised. They were more efficient than I gave them credit for!
Soon after, a six-member advisory panel was set up to aid in investigations of the violence at the Bersih rally. Incidentally, a panel that is supposed to carry out investigations on allegations of police brutality, is headed by our very own ex-IGP. Again, this didn’t earn the authorities any candy points. As the very popular and over-used saying goes, “Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.”
Bersih supporters overseas were only too keen to show their support for the cause. When Najib was in London and on stage prepared to give a speech, just a couple of days ago, he was given a “Bersih” time. Some people in the crowd chanted “Bersih” continuously, even as Najib was talking on the mic. He had to temporarily halting his speech, and asked the audience to “please stop”.
Perhaps the pro-establishment, or rather, the anti-Bersih crowd were starting to get restless at how slowly the authorities were solving this issue. Just very recently, a group called Ikhlas decided that they had the right to “peaceful assembly”, to “freely express” their grouses against Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga.
How they came up with the decision that preparing 200 burgers in front of her house is a good way to show protest is beyond my imagination. The police even said that under the new Peaceful Assembly Act, these Ikhlas people were completely abiding by the law!
Already, the week was turning into a series of bizarre moments of post-Bersih trauma. They were like the aftershocks of the Bersih earthquake – now everyone wanted a piece of it.
And how else to end the week, than by having yet another even more bizarre “peaceful assembly” organised in front of Ambiga’s house again. This time, a group of army veterans decided to do “butt exercises”!
Already, a “protest” of any sort in front of someone’s home is hardly praise-worthy, if at all legal.
What makes this incident doubly embarrassing is the fact that these are the very people who used to be in our army. The very people who used to fight for our nation’s pride! They should be proud, dignified men. Instead, this “protest” made them look petty and crude and completely undignified.
They say that they are doing this, especially in front of Ambiga’s house, because she’s responsible for leading Bersih, and hence responsible for tarnishing the good name of our country.
I have only two questions: (1) Why, then, did no one go to Pak Samad’s house and conduct the same protests? Wasn’t he also co-chairperson of Bersih? And (2) When a group of army veterans think it suitable to tonggeng in front of a woman’s house, who, then, is tarnishing our country’s pride?
Meanwhile, Merap is still coming up with more “evidence”, while the EC is trying its best to counter the allegations. Bersih, it seems, doesn’t intend to allow itself to be swept under the rugs just yet.