Malaysia

In the aftermath of anti-price hike rally, police set to haul organisers

Police personnel on guard at Dataran Merdeka watching over protestors at Dataran Merdeka Yesterday. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 1, 2013. Police personnel on guard at Dataran Merdeka watching over protestors at Dataran Merdeka Yesterday. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 1, 2013. Police are set to crack down on organisers and participants of an anti-price hike rally at Dataran Merdeka last night for violating conditions of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

Deputy city police chief Datuk Amar Singh told The Malaysian Insider: "As the public were celebrating the end of 2013 and waiting to usher in 2014, their revelry was interrupted by those participating in the rally.

"Police had been extremely patient and lenient with the rally participants. Unfortunately, they rammed through the three barriers which we had erected."

Amar said police were not inclined to be heavy-handed last night, having said before that they would adopt a relaxed approach to the rally participants and organisers.

An estimated 10,000 attended last night’s rally to voice their dissatisfaction with the rising cost of living and increase in the prices of goods and services.

The crowd gathered at Masjid Jamek and the Sogo shopping centre from 8pm with several politicians also seen in attendance.

Protesters wearing mask and hold placards to protest against rising cost of living at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 1, 2014.Protesters wearing mask and hold placards to protest against rising cost of living at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 1, 2014.A student representative reiterated that the purpose of the rally was to voice the people’s dissatisfaction at the hike in the prices of goods and services, and not to overthrow Putrajaya.

At 10pm, after singing Negaraku, the crowd began marching towards Dataran Merdeka, chanting “Turun!” and “Reformasi!”.

The boisterous crowd made it past several rows of police personnel and City Hall enforcement officers before merging with the crowd already present at Dataran Merdeka.

Amar said two policemen suffered light injuries when the crowd rammed through the barriers. The two policemen were sent to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

He also confirmed that police found several parangs and knives at undisclosed locations in Kuala Lumpur last night.

Politicians present at last night's rally included DAP's P. Kasthuri, Steven Sim, PAS's Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and Salahuddin Ayub, and student activist Adam Adli.

Amar declined to elaborate on who police were looking for, merely saying those who had disrupted last night's festivities would be called up for investigation.

Protesters slowly disperse after protesting against the rising cost of living at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur today. - The Malaysian Insider by Afif Abd Halim, January 1, 2014Protesters slowly disperse after protesting against the rising cost of living at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur today. - The Malaysian Insider by Afif Abd Halim, January 1, 2014

Police earlier disclosed the names of four non-governmental organisations as the key players planning to disrupt the festivities.

These were Reduce the Cost of Living Movement, Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia, Jingga 13 and Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia. – January 1, 2014.

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