Malaysian government probes alleged excessive force by police during Saturday's mass rally

08:51, July 12, 2011      

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Malaysian Home Ministry said they are currently examining the videos of Saturday's mass rally in Kuala Lumpur in an investigation into alleged police brutality and warned against the foreign media whom it accused of ' sensationalizing' the incident.

"Police have not denied it one way or another, we have visuals and recordings from the beginning to the end and they would be analyzed," Home Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein said at a press conference on Monday.

"I hope the foreign media, especially, in sensationalizing the incident, please be responsible because when the facts do come out in respect of numbers, allegations of certain incidents, injuries sustained and the death of an individual that has been alleged to be caused by the police, they will be brought forward to the attorney general," he added.

On Saturday, police fired rounds of tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of activists of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections or Bersih who took to the streets illegally to demand for an electoral reform in Kuala Lumpur.

The number of demonstrators was estimated to be about 50,000 although authorities put the figure at five to six-thousand people.

One demonstrator had died of heart attack during the incident.

Bersih linked the man's death to the police, which they claimed had used excessive force when making arrests and dispersing the crowd.

A total of 1,667 demonstrators were arrested, including the organizers of the rally, the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim and 13 children.

They were released by Sunday.

The police issued a stand down order on operations against Saturday's illegal gatherings in the city after situation returned to normal at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Bersih, a non-government organization was advocating for a clean and fair election in the next general election, which is expected to start within this year.

Their demands include introducing automatic voter registration, reforms to postal voting and the use of indelible ink.

The organization held a similar rally with a crowd of an estimated of between 10,000 to 40,000 people in 2007 that dealt a major blow to the ruling coalition, who lost five states to the opposition during the 2008 election.

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