March 30, 2003

Thousands of Malaysians brave
the rain to join anti-war rally

MALAYSIANS brave rain during the mass anti-war rally initiated by Peace Malaysia at the Merdeka Square, March 29. - Bernamapix.

KUALA LUMPUR March 29 - Heavy rain did not deter Malaysians from all walks of life in joining the anti-war protest march and rally at the Merdeka Square here to voice their opposition against the US-led incursions on Iraq which enters the 10th day Saturday.
The event, initiated by the Malaysian People's Alliance for Peace (Peace Malaysia), brought together nearly 5,000 people, including 200 Iraqis residing in Malaysia.
The protesters marched nearly two kilometres from Padang Merbok at Jalan Parlimen to the Merdeka Square.
Peace Malaysia Patron Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the protest march was a continuity to the mammoth gathering organised by Peace Malaysia at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Feb 23.
Addressing the rally at Merdeka Square, Hishammuddin, who is also Youth and Sports Minister and UMNO Youth chief, said he was touched by the concern shown by Malaysians to take part in the protest march and rally despite the rain.
Also present was Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, who is also one of four MCA vice-presidents.
The protestors paraded three replicas of a coffin bearing the words "freedom", "democracy" and "liberty" from Padang Merbok to Merdeka Square.
While the rally was going on at the Merdeka Square, another anti-war gathering organised by opposition parties was held at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC).

Saturday 29th March 2003

Malaysian police fire tear gas
on Iraq war protest

Malaysian police have used tear gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators protesting about the war in Iraq.

The protesters, who staged a sit-down demonstration outside the Australian embassy, scuffled with police when officers moved in to scatter the crowd.

Twelve protesters including a woman were arrested for defying police orders to disperse, Mohamad Nor Masdar, a police spokesman told reporters.

Kuala Lumpur Deputy Police Chief Ahmad Baharin said the rally organisers did not seek police permission as required by law.

"This is an illegal rally. They don't have a permit and therefore they should not be here," Ahmad said.

The about 1,000 protesters were led by leaders of the main opposition Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party which has urged Malaysians to boycott American products in protest against the invasion of Iraq

The protesters had earlier gathered at the Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest buildings, and chanted slogans against the United States, Britain and Australia. They carried mock coffins and raised an Iraqi flag.

"We are here to voice our support for the Iraqi people ... to speak out against the injustices committed by America and its allies on innocent civilians," Nasharuddin Mat Isa, a senior official of the Islamic party told the cheering crowd.

The protesters tried to march to the US Embassy but were blocked by armed police backed by water cannon. They had then marched to the Australian Embassy.

Associated Press