Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar has been urged to apologise for the manner in which the police handled a candlelight vigil in Petaling Jaya on Sunday night.
In a press statement, the organiser of the vigil Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) also called on Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar to "take responsibility for his part in this fiasco to resign."
"We are deeply appalled by the unusual manner in which the police dispersed citizens in a peaceful gathering.
“Under 'more normal' circumstances, the police officer in charge would order the crowd to disperse within five minutes before taking any action," read the statement which was distributed during a press conference in Parliament today.
Speaking at the press conference, DAP MP Teresa Kok cited the case of a civilian who allegedly suffered injuries during the vigil held to commemorate the first anniversary of last November’s Bersih rally and to protest against the Internal Security Act.
"A 53-year-old woman named Dian Abdullah was attacked from behind by a few policemen, causing her to fall and injure the back of her head where she received stitches afterwards," claimed the parliamentarian, who also showed a photograph of the victim.
Vigil will continue
Another opposition MP, Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor) said the 'police violence' was unexpected and at the same time urged the home minister to resign.
"If they dispersed (the people) in such a violent act just to create fear among the public, it will never break our spirit to fight against this," he said.
The politicians also lashed out at the police chief for allowing 'violence' to be perpetrated against DAP leaders Tony Pua and Lau Weng San.
Blogger Haris Ibrahim, who was also present at the press conference, said the candlelight vigil has been taking place every Sunday for the past four weeks.
He vowed that it will continue until all ISA detainees are released and the draconian law is repealed.
"The Selangor state government should also take part in the gathering and they should protect those people who back their policy," he said.
'Police chief lied'
At a separate press conference held in the Parliament lobby this morning, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang took a swipe at the police chief for "lying to the public despite video evidence."
Yesterday, Khalid denied that the police dispersed the crowd when they were singing the national anthem even though a video recording showed otherwise.
"He is an outright liar, he was caught red-handed for lying because the police did disperse the crowd when they sang the national anthem and also without warnings," said Lim.
The veteran politician also said that Khalid should be held responsible for "violating the fundamental freedom of speech" in the country.
"For that, I am urging him to apologise to the public immediately for the lies," said Lim.
A total of 23 people were arrested during the vigil and 22 of them were freed the next morning. Another detainee is being held for further investigations into other cases.