Monday November 26, 2007
PM: Police had to take action
By DEVID RAJAH
KAMPALA (Uganda): Police had to take firm action to disperse the illegal gathering by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) in the interest of public safety and security, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.
He said the situation could easily have turned violent if police did not take the necessary action to break up the demonstrators.
“I was told that one group of demonstrators pelted policemen and their vehicles near Batu Caves and tore down the temple gate there,” he said at the end of the three-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2007) here yesterday.
Abdullah said if police did not take the necessary action to disperse the crowd others would have blamed them for not protecting the public.
However, police did not retaliate violently though they were provoked.
To a question, Abdullah said those who have been organising street demonstrations seemed to be testing the Government's patience.
“Don't abuse the freedom that has been given to you,” he said, adding that those who took part in the illegal gathering would not go unpunished.
Abdullah questioned Hindraf's intention in going ahead with the demonstration despite the police warning not to do so.
“If you want to submit a memorandum there are other ways of doing it,” he said.
In PEKAN, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he was saddened by the move by Hindraf to proceed with the illegal rally despite warnings and a court order issued against the organisers.
“They continue to defy the police and court order and some of them also acted aggressively during the rally.
“This is something that cannot be accepted by the Government and the majority of the people,” he told reporters after attending a thanksgiving ceremony hosted by a religious group, Al-Wardah, at Kampung Batu 8 yesterday.
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