Police: No clearance for Bersih to hold rally in Kuching’s Padang Merdeka

Bersih supporters gathering beside Padang Merdeka in Kota Kinabalu on May 1, 2015, for the May Day rally. — File pic
Bersih supporters gathering beside Padang Merdeka in Kota Kinabalu on May 1, 2015, for the May Day rally. — File pic

KUCHING, Aug 19 — The Sarawak Government has denied permission for Bersih 4.0 rally organisers to use Padang Merdeka here as a venue for its gathering on Aug 29 and 30.

District police chief ACP Roslan Bek Ahmad said the state government had the right to deny usage of the premises as it owned Padang Merdeka.

Nevertheless, he said the police would hold a meeting with the rally organisers tomorrow on the matter.

At the meeting, the police and the organisers would sign a decree that would list conditions to hold the gathering wherever it might be, he said, adding that the rally would be allowed to go on, provided the organisers complied with the conditions set.

"One of the conditions is that it should not be held at any place without permission from the owner or administrator (Kuching city council) of the area concerned," Roslan told reporters after the conclusion of a series of Light Strike Force (LSF) training sessions at the Tabuan Jaya police station here today.

He cautioned that a violation of the conditions contravened Section 20 of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, which allowed the police to arrest participants without the need for a warrant.

Roslan said a more detailed explanation on the outcome of tomorrow's meeting, including requirements for the gathering, would be given to the media after the police department's monthly assembly at the Tabuan Jaya police station on Friday.

On Aug 12, Bersih 4.0 organisers had informed the police that they planned to hold a rally at Padang Merdeka, beginning 2pm on Aug 29 until 11.50pm on Aug 30.

Meanwhile, 32 policemen completed the LSF training course today, specifically to enhance efficiency in handling various tasks.

Roslan said the training, this time around was held to prepare the security forces for the upcoming state elections. — Bernama

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