KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Malaysian Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin refuted satellite television station Al Jazeera’s claim that Malaysian police used force on hundreds of protesters here on Saturday.
Zainuddin said that police tried to disperse the protesters by using water cannon as the gathering was illegal, but allowed them to march to Istana Negara (National Palace) to present their memorandum demanding a “clean and fair election,” according to the Malaysian national news services Bernama.
Tens of hundreds of people tried to enter the Medeka Square, or Independence Square, downtown here Saturday afternoon for a rally not approved by the government, but failed due to massive police presence around the area.
Bernama said that the illegal rally was organized by a coalition comprising 26 non-governmental organizations with opposition parties involved.
Police were forced to use tear gas and water cannons to disperse tens of hundreds of people that gathered for the rally near Merdeka Square and detain some of them who refused to disperse, Bernama quoted Police Chief Musa Hassan as saying.
Police had to resort to such actions because the protesters refused to disperse, Musa said.
Police released 245 detainees later on the day after recording their statements, he added.
Ten representatives had handed the memorandum to Istana Negara Saturday afternoon, according to Bernama.
Malaysian minister refutes report on police use of force against protesters (Xinhua)