Monday 26 November 2007

A Bone of Contention

First it was the BERSIH March on 10th November, then came the HINDRAF Rally yesterday. In a span of just two weeks Malaysia has witnessed 2 large street demonstrations by mainly ordinary citizens the scale of which never seen before in the decade after Anwar Ibrahim's Reformasi protests.

Claims of 30,000, 50,000 to even 100,000 marchers by organizers and "Netivists" are matched by seemingly blatant, understated figures of 4,000 and 1,000 in the mainstream media. At last most of us are left with a disgusting after-taste, having consumed too much official and unofficial media bullshit.

Core issues resulting in the street demonstrations aside, the spotlight invariably falls on the Police Force which is charged with keeping public order. How did our "men in blue" acquit themselves in the eyes of the public? Obviously both demonstrations were with peaceful intent and the fact is that on both occasions, the Police used tear gas, chemical laced water and physical force; there is now irrefutable video and photographic evidence of this. Were the actions of the police justified? Were the police keeping order or sparking disorder? There will always be more than two sides to the story.

Have we become a police state? Is our police force being led by mere lackeys of the ruling incumbents?

Most of us living in KL may be tempted to think so. The massive traffic jams in the last 2 weeks were caused by the police "locking down" the city in an impossible attempt to filter out "undesirables"; it seems politically motivated. The fact that there still appeared to be thousands at the rallies seems to make the police blockade a clear exercise in futility. It also seems to point to a concerted attempt to create public contempt against street demonstrations by having so-called counter-measures that inconvenienced the public.

The question arises: "What drives the PDRM"? Perhaps the following video that has become the bone of contention in many minds and numerous public outcries of double standards holds the answer.

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