Kuala Lumpur: Thousands of Malaysians have staged a protest rally in Kuala Lumpur to call for electoral reforms and fair elections.
Police on Saturday fired tear gas at protesters, shut down much of the city center and closed off the central Merdeka (Independence) Square to prevent the expansion of the demonstration to the downtown area.
The protesters have promised to press ahead with their demands.
“Now it looks like we will have to fight for our right to gather at Merdeka Square as well as fight for free and fair elections,” said protester Muhammed Hafiz.
Abdul Hadi Awang, the president of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, also called for “full support” of the protesters who have formed a group known as “Bersih,” meaning “clean.”
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.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 people will take part in the demonstration.