Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Videos and You Tube: Catching the police and BN in a web of lies

Videos and You Tube: Catching the police and BN in a web of liesCorrupt Barisan Nasional l Written by  Iskandar Dzulkarnain
What started out as just a simple march for democracy and for free and fair elections has turned out to be Malaysia’s biggest news of the year. In the weeks leading up to the July 9 Bersih march, the media industry was already witnessing a gigantic surge in the news material for Bersih 2.0.
Low-profile lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan, who is also the Bersih chief, was thrown rudely into the limelight. Public attention was further aggravated by Perkasa Chief Ibrahim Ali and his hostility towards the Rally. Sad to say, death and gang-rape threats against Ambiga also riveted many Malaysians to their Internet.

4,000 reports and a city-lockdown
Over 4,000 police reports were made in the short span of time leading to the rally. At the last minute, an audience was granted with the King to cool things down. Even after Prime Minister Najib Razak reneged on his words, Bersih supporters were more determined than before to try their best to hold the march at Stadium Merdeka. The rally went on as planned at the KL city centre after the Government refused permission to grant Bersih the ‘Stadium Merdeka’ to rally in.
There was an immediate lockdown of Kuala Lumpur with Police Roadblocks on every road leading into Kuala Lumpur. People were turned away and massive traffic jams were recorded all over the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur. Transportation came to a stand still as all buses were prevented from entering Kuala Lumpur and all major roads within KL were blocked.
The Federal Reserve Unit and police in riot gear began to take up positions all over Kuala Lumpur during the 24 hours leading to the event.
The Rally recorded about 50,000 marchers with some dressed in the familiar yellow. Marchers assembled all over Kuala Lumpur began their march towards Stadium Merdeka. The situation was tense as the Riot Police looked on, all ready to clamp down at the slightest sign of trouble.
Skirmishes were unavoidable as the crowds began to peak. Teargas and water-cannons were fired at random with some being hit by tear gas canisters and chemical laced water. The intensity of the police attacks created panic with many of marchers running for their lives away from the teargas and water-cannons which was raining down on them.
Videos galore - Videos on Bersih 2.0 here
Videos of the skirmishes were shot with hand-phone cameras and portable videocams. Most of it was released on Youtube the following day, with some videos showing horrifying scenes of high-handed police action.
By 5.30pm on July 9, the crowd began to disperse, marking the end of the Bersih Rally. With the worse over, everyone expected the Bersih controversy to quieten down and disappear in time. It was not to be, as stunned International News Media with some already stationed in KL picked up the news and made mincemeat of the government’s high-handed action.
The first week after the Bersih rally saw a flurry of denials coming from all quarters condemning the march as illegal and hijacked by the Opposition. Prominent personalities from politicians to academics and religious clerics wasted no time to demonising the Rally and putting the blame on the Pakatan Rakyat, and specifically Anwar Ibrahim.
But as more and more videos of the event started to surface on You Tube and other electronic media, it provoked a backlash from the public and from international media attention. The Police and the government were left to fend for themselves as furious criticism continued to pour in.
The younger and savvy generation which relied on the Internet for information on the Bersih Rally have found the violent videos disturbing. On the day of the event, it was reported that many young people were found glued to the computer at Internet cafes all over the country from the cities to the rural areas.
Asking the right questions

With so much criticism from Malaysians at home and abroad, the government really had no choice but to downplay the controversy. The Tung Shin hospital fiasco was also a lame attempt by the MCA to deny - on the police's behalf - that teargas and water cannons were fired at the hospital as false.
Meanwhile, many Malaysians were also left recoiling in horror at the carnage they saw on You Tube on Friday. The BN government is now on a face-saving mode. Knowng that something has to be done quickly to restore public opinion, the Najib administraion consented to screen reedited parts of the videos taken by the Police during the entire March. By screening mild videos of the Police controlling the crowd, acting humanely and within legal limits, it hopes to appease public criticism and regain their trust.
With no end to the daily publicity accorded to Bersih, more and more Malaysians cannot avoid the Bersih impact on their lives, with many starting to ask the right questions.
For this reason, many university lecturers, deans and chancellors have come up with statements to calm the confused and agitated University students and to explain why the BN government had to outlaw Bersih to stop people from attending.
Directors of the Public Services Departments in the Civil Service also have their hands full trying to downplay the controversy.
The Bersih Rally was one of the most-talked about, and most widely-covered news in Malaysia. It has also gone international with simultaneous rallies in over 30 cities around the world. The global backlash has caused the government to fall into a state of shock.
Post-Bersih 2.0 Rally, Here Are The Winners - Part 1 (Photo) 

- Malaysia Chronicle

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