Kuala Lumpur, Apr29 (): Police tear gassed and sprayed water cannon on Saturday at protesters asking for fair and free elections which is said to be one of the biggest rallies held in Malaysia in past years. The protesters assembled near the Independence Square, in Kuala Lumpur with many shouting slogans for reforms.
More than 400 protesters were arrested in the demonstration in Kuala Lumpur, which is organized by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections that was formed by 84 organizations that is demanding a clean and fair election which is expected in June.
The coalition named as Bersih which means clean, in Malay protests that electoral system is favoring the governing coalition
The police figured that around 50,000 protesters had participated in the protest. However Bersih leader Ambiga Sreenevasan said that the protesters gathered were around 250,000.
Protesters wearing the yellow T-shirts which symbolize the support of Bersih movement started gathering from Saturday morning from various parts at the Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur creating a mass rally.
Earlier on Friday the court issued an order to demonstrators to keep out of the Independence Square. The rally from the streets near the square started peacefully as Bersih organizers had pledged the protesters not to break police barricades.
A small crowd then appeared and breached the barriers. To control the situation, the police fired tear gas, water cannon with chemicals to disperse the crowd. Ramli Yoosuf, police spokesman told that tear gas and water cannon were fired after the group breached the police barricades.
Andrew Khoo, Bersih steering committee member, told the organizers were disappointed that protesters broke through police barricades. He added that the police have overreacted.
This protest on Saturday was Bersih’s third protest to change the country’s election system. Earlier in July last year in Bersih’s protest around 1,600 protesters were arrested. To disperse the crowd police had teargased and fired water cannons.