Malaysian police clash with thousands of protesters

Malaysian police clash with thousands of protesters
# 29 April 2012 03:36 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Malaysian police have clashed with tens of thousands of protesters demanding free and fair elections, in one of the largest rallies in the country in recent years, APA reports quoting Press TV.

Police fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse 25,000 protesters who swamped the historic Merdeka Square in the center of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday.

Some Malaysian news organizations put the number of protesters as high as 100,000, police officials say at least 388 people were detained,

Protesters demand that the Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling coalition - which has held power for nearly 55 years - to overhaul electoral policies before polls that could be held as early as June.

The rally organizers and the opposition want a complete overhaul of a voter roll considered fraudulent and reform of an Election Commission that they say is biased in favor of the ruling coalition.

A similar demonstration last year turned violent when police clashed with protesters and arrested some 1,600 people.

City officials, however, have prohibited protesters from staging any protest rally at the Merdeka Square.

Najib’s popularity slid following last year’s clashes that prompted the government to announce reforms, described by the opposition as cosmetic.