Posted on July 12, 2011, Tuesday
SIBU: Four locals who met protesters at the Bersih 2.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday, have returned safely.
The four Simon Tiong (PKR Ketua Cabang Sibu), Boney Wong, Law Lik Wan and Lee Toh Hung recounted their fear and excitement when they were in the midst of the rally.
They said they were on the street then, and what they saw was something they could not forget for a lifetime.
“In the beginning, there was fear deep in us, but, the brotherhood spirit in the crowd washed away our fear.”
Their encounter with the tear gas and the irritants from water cannons was an experience they could not forget.
“We were all affected when the tear gas was fired and we ran for cover.”
Law said one dropped just a few feet from him when he ran inside Tung Shin Hospital at Pudu Road for cover.
He said he saw at least two of them being fired into the hospital compound.
Wong, the only woman among the four, said she had asthma, and luckily, the tear gas did not affect her much as she ran for cover.
They described the burning sensation on their skin when they were hit by the irritants from the water cannon.
“Strangers offered us salt to rub on the face and body, and shortly, the pain went away,” said Tiong.
“From what I saw, the protesters were peaceful and friendly, even to strangers. They did not resort to violence against the policemen and the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU).”
Lee said it was scary at night on the eve when he was at Bukit Bintang with his friends taking a stroll.
“The streets were empty as the people had stayed home to avoid trouble.”
He said on the morning of the rally, the streets were also empty in the city, but, shortly past noon life returned to normal.
“Now we understand why the protesters had gone to the rally armed with towel, mineral water, salt and even baby oil.
“The salt and the baby oil can reduce the pain caused by the tear gas and the irritants.
“They needed the water to wash and drink too. One bottle is definitely not enough.”