I refer to the letter, Bersih can take police to court . I am glad that there are Malaysiakini readers who take the time to clarify our rights and the wrongdoings of the police.
From what I saw, the gathering on Saturday afternoon was a peaceful one. It was only the police who chose to act despite being unprovoked. I feared that someone in the crowd (perhaps even someone from the Special Branch posing as a civilian) would throw something at the police giving them the excuse that "things had turned violent and therefore, we had to act" but thankfully, there was none.
So the question is: Why the tear gas and why the water cannons on members of the public who did not use any violence?
Later, when I looked at the pictures of the procession to Istana Negara, it occurred to me that it was like one of those open-house events where citizens form long queues. In this case, they were there to lend support to the coalition who wished to deliver a memorandum to our King. Is that wrong? Is the government now denying us the right to be present at peaceful action? Is the government trying to prevent the rakyat from communicating with their King?
The 'chaos' that the police feared would bring public inconvenience was actually caused by police roadblocks! I was caught in one such roadblock along Jalan Damansara but I realised it was not due to those who wanted to have the rally, so I do not blame them.
The situation could have been better managed. The government would have gained a few positive points had the prime minister not said it was an act of "challenging the government" . The police should have worked with the organisers to ensure a peaceful procession instead of trying to break it up.
The 4,000 police officers on duty could have lined the route from the city centre and if any individual caused problems, they could immediately stepped in to arrest him or her. But it is good that, in the end, a decision was made to allow the procession, even though it was considered an "illegal" assembly. I believe this helped to prevent the event from turning ugly.