Malaysia police warn all groups not to incite violence as anti-Bersih group plans to counter rally

The huge crowd at the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28, 2012.
The huge crowd at the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28, 2012. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar has warned all quarters not to incite violence, amid concerns over a weekend rally planned by electoral reform group Bersih.

"Although we have declared the Bersih rally illegal, we will not tolerate acts of criminal intimidation by anyone against those who participate," Tan Sri Khalid told the Malaysiakini news portal.

"Nobody should take the law into their own hands," he said.

 
 

He was responding to news reports that an anti-Bersih group would be training with machetes and swords as preparation to counter the overnight rally slated for Aug 29-30.

The group leader, Umno division chief Jamal MD Yunos, said the training is for self-defence and not to incite violence. He plans to mobilise 30,000 people to counter the Bersih overnight rally, whose aim is to demand Prime Minister Najib Razak's resignation, according to Malaysiakini.

Donning red T-shirts, the anti-Bersih group plans to gather at Low Yat Plaza, the report said.

The news portal quoted the police chief as saying that the police would not hesitate to take action against those who gather on the streets with weapons.

"Why train with swords if you do not intend to bring them on that day? If that is the case, then the police would arrest those found to be in possession of weapons.

"We would not tolerate any group that threatens security and public order," he warned.

He also urged the public to stay clear of the Bersih rally and the gathering planned by the "Red Shirts".

On Tuesday, the anti-Bersih group staged a martial arts display outside the Sogo shopping mall where participants broke tiles and wood.

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