Malaysian Police Disperse Protesters with Tear Gas, Water Cannon

Posted April 28th, 2012 at 5:50 am (UTC-5)
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Malaysian police fired tear gas and water cannon at tens of thousands of protesters who flooded into the center of Kuala Lumpur Saturday to demand election reforms.

At least 25,000 protesters trampled through barbed wire barricades as they poured into the heavily guarded Independence Square, defying a ban on holding the rally at the venue in the heart of the capital.

Police also barricaded several other sites in the city, but opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said earlier that the demonstrators were intent on marching to the square.

“So, the police caught on, to allow us to march, there are now five centers like this. So we have to converge. So immediately after prayers we will have to move, and we will see what happens. But it's very important that we have Malaysians from all communities, racial groups, converging together, demanding fair, free elections, and stop the fraud.”

Activists claim that the Election Commission is biased and that Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition, which has held power for more than 50 years, will have an unfair advantage in elections that could be called as early as June.