Malaysian police crack down hard on procession

Malaysian police on Sunday fired tear gas and water cannon to prevent thousands of ethnic Indians from taking part in a rally, declared "illegal" by the government, outside the British High Commission here.

The demonstrators, who had gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers, the second largest building in the world, were beaten and dragged into trucks by the police, witnesses said.

The rally call had been given by Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), a non-governmental agency, which has held the British Government responsible for bringing Indians to the then Malaya as "indentured labourers and exploiting them". It has claimed a compensation of $4 trillion.

Kuala Lumpur: Thousands of ethnic Indians, a few carrying photos of Mahatma Gandhi had assembled before dawn near the Petronas towers. Several hundreds more had gathered in Batu Caves, a limestone cave Murugan temple on the city's outskirts.

The Government had warned of stiff action if the protesters went ahead with their plans to assemble before the British High Commission at Jalan Ampang here to present a memorandum signed by over 100,000 ethnic Indians.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi on Saturday said street demonstrations were not the way for people to voice their grouses.

"We are not a nation where the people cannot voice their grievances, but it has to be done in the proper way. We have elections... they can contest, they can campaign, ask for votes," the Premier said in Kampala.


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