Monday 27 February 2012

Journalist provoked us, claims Umno leader

An Umno blogger accused a journalist injured in the melee at the anti-Lynas demonstration in Penang yesterday of “provoking” Umno supporters at the scene.

NONEBukit Gelugor Umno division vice-chief Novandri Hasan Basri (right) claimed “pro-opposition media twisted” the incident which left Kwong Wah Jit Poh reporter Andrew Chew with eight stitches on his right hand.

"It turned out that the Chinese man with the long hair is a journalist.

"In the incident (yesterday), not even one journalist who held a camera or video (camera) was hit or injured," said Novandri on his blog Minda intelek Melayu (MiM).

"What is baffling is why this man (who) claims (to be a) journalist (was) wearing a green T-shirt just like the anti-Lynas (demonstrators) without holding a camera?" he asked.

The Penang rally was part of several nationwide demonstrations by Himpunan Hijau 2.0 to condemn the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Kuantan, Pahang for its potential radioactive hazards.

 About 15,000 anti-Lynas demonstrators had gathered in Kuantan demanding the rare earths refinery, which is expected to be up and running by June, is shut down, despite having obtained a temporary operating licence (TOL) from the government.

NONEHowever, the rally, which attracted some 500 supporters in Penang, was harassed by a group of some 50 locals allegedly from Umno Youth and Malay rights pressure group Perkasa.

The hostile group continue to jeer the anti-Lynas crowd and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng while he was speaking on stage.

Chew, along with another Kwong Wah Jit Poh reporter Lee Hong Chun, were later beaten up with motorcycle helmets.

"(Chew) was acting as a protector in defence of (Lim) Guan Eng and also provoked the people of Penang who were present at Padang Kota Lama?" stated Novandri.

Novandri, who was present at the scene of the incident, added that he, too, had video recordings of the incident which were contradictory to videos "shot to gain sympathies" which have gone viral online.

In a 1.32-minute excerpt of one of the video in the blog post, a group of men were seen closing in on Chew, who was trying fight them off.

However, Novandri claimed that this was after Chew had tried to kick them.

He also included several screen shots of the video where a white plastic chair was seen been thrown at the demonstrators.

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