an emotionally charged public protest, brutal, violent Federal Reserve
Unit (FRU) officers expressed frustration over the stereotyping in the
independent media of riot policemen as brutal, violent psychopaths. Sparked
by the recent sentencing of former police chief Rahim Noor for assault,
the demonstration by some 500 FRU riot police was violently broken up by
another 500 FRU riot police.
"As a brutal, violent riot policeman, I feel hurt
by the negative portrayal of my profession in some of the media,"
Ahmad Terajang, 31, told reporters at the demonstration in Dataran Merdeka.
"None of us should have to live with stereotyping and ignorance."
then began screaming and firing tear gas into a small crowd of civilian
by-standers nearby. "It hurts that in this supposedly enlightened
day and age, people still make assumptions about other people," Terajang
said, as he slowly twisted the neck of a nearby pensioner. "We should
not rely on simple generalizations. Each crazed riot policeman is an individual."
Another demonstrating FRU officer, A Pukulsamy, 29, said
that he himself has often been unfairly stereotyped. "Any time I approach
a small crowd with fully loaded tear gas guns and batons swinging, people
just assume I'm going to harm them," he said. "That really hurts."
"Yes, I sometimes do crack their skulls in the name
of law and order," he noted. "But there is so much more to me."
walk into a supermarket in full riot gear and people immediately jump to
conclusions on the basis of the colour of my helmet and uniform,"
officer Lim Ban Tai. "We are victims of prejudice ,and this can be
very hurtful and frustrating," he said weeping from the tear gas.
FRU officers had last week pleaded their case and brought
their grievances to human rights group SUARAM. A subsequent peaceful demo
organised by SUARAM, "Freedom for the FRU Day", was violently
broken up by FRU.
forget that we are professionals and take great pride in our work,"
said Ali Sepak, 32. Ali gained worldwide fame when international news agencies
filmed him dragging a sixty-year old woman by the hair along Jalan TAR
and beamed the pictures to every cable news channel in the world. "We
have brought international recognition to Malaysia. And what do we get?
According to Ali, stereotypes against brutal, violent
riot policemen don't work because they don't take into account the vast
diversity of professional experience and variety of cultures among them.
"There are so many different kinds of brutal, violent riot policemen.
Each of us has our own unique reasons and motivations for beating the crap
out of people. Some like the brisk exercise. Others like to see the sight
of blood. I personally like to hear the gurgle in their throats as I ram
my baton down their windpipes."
also stressed the importance of understanding and celebrating the cultural
differences between brutal, violent riot policemen and non-brutal, non-violent
civilians. "All the different peoples of the world have something
special to offer each other," he said. "Our diversity is our
greatest strength. Let's not make a weakness out of that strength."
To emphasize his point, Pukulsamy fired into a nearby
crowd with his automatic rifle, killing nine.
"I'm proud to be a brutal, violent riot policeman,
obviously," he said in between loading ammunition. "But I'm a
professional first. Eat lead, you Reformasi bastards!" he declared,
as he fired another clip into a passing schoolbus.