Thousands of Malaysians gathered at a stadium to protest inflation and
a recent fuel hike, despite a government ban on the rally. Chad
Bouchard reports from Jakarta that political tension has been
increasing during the past week in Malaysia.
filed into a stadium in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur to call for an end to
last month's 40-percent increase in gas prices.
chanted "reformation", echoing a rising call for change within the
government following dismal election results for the country's ruling
party in March.
The rally was initially banned by the federal government, which said the organizers lacked the necessary permits.
country's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, was expected to address the
protesters, about one week after he took refuge in the Turkish Embassy
amid allegations he sodomized an aide.
The chairman of a party supporting the government, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahman, accused Anwar of manipulating the public.
says Anwar should stop holding mass rallies for personal reasons, such
as denouncing the police report that was lodged against him for
The country's inspector general announced plans to bring in the military to stop protests Sunday if necessary.
Human-rights lawyer S. Sivanesan condemned the threat to deploy military personnel.
is the first time we have seen things come to this level when the
police have also threatened to bring in the army and such things. This
is unprecedented," Sivanesan said. "An army cannot get involved in
controlling crowds in a civilian situation. The army has no business
coming in, and this is only to threaten and intimidate the public."
The rally remained peaceful through late afternoon, and only a few police patrolled the area in cars.