(Raw video)Nove 25/07
Tear gas fired at Hindraf rally (Malaysiakini)Nov 25/07 8:20am Hours before the protest organised by Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) is due to take place, the police have already begun firing tear gas and chemical-laced water to disperse crowds in three areas in Kuala Lumpur - Jalan Ampang, the KLCC and Batu Caves. The police fired a volley of tear gas at Jalan Ampang at about 7.40am today to disperse a large crowd who had gathered there. The area has been declared a curfew zone by the police, who have issued a ‘arrest on sight’ order. Earlier, the police also used tear gas to disperse a crowd which gathered at Batu Caves and the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) areas. Despite roadblocks and a tight police cordon to seal off the city, thousands of Indians from all around the country have arrived in Kuala Lumpur since last night.Some of the protesters were already at Jalan Ampang near Hotel Nikko and Ampang Park - a stone throw away from the British High Commission - early this morning.Despite repeated firing of chemical-laced water against the 2,000-strong crowd, the protesters appeared defiant and refused to budge.However, by 8.30am the police have successfully forced the crowd to move out of the area, many of whom are now congregating near the National Heart Institute along Jalan Tun Razak.Meanwhile, another group which has gathered near Tabung Haji building was pushed back by the volleys of police tear gas to near the United States embassy further down Jalan Tun Razak.By 9am, the police have cleared most of area in the vicinity of Ampang Park and the British High Commission of protesters.March to begin at 10amPolice presence is heavy and a few arrests have been made. The stretch of Jalan Ampang near the British High Commission has already been closed.The rally has been declared illegal by the police, who have also obtained an unprecedented court order to prohibit people from taking part in it. Large groups of people are gathering at various spots around the city centre, all hoping to break the police cordon to march towards the British High Commission at about 10am. Jalan Ampang - where the high commission is located - and three other roads have been closed since 3am to stop the crowd from arriving at the protest venue. Security is also tight at KL central, the hub for public transportation in the city. However inter-city commuter train services and the Putra LRT services are operating as usual as of 7am. Why the protest?The planned protest is to support a lawsuit against Malaysia's former colonial power for bringing Indians to Malaysia as indentured labourers and exploiting them for 150 years. Furthermore, the suit sought a declaration that the Reid Commission Report 1957 failed to incorporate the rights of the Indian community when independence was granted, resulting in discrimination and marginalisation to this day. The quantum being sought is about US$2 million for every Indian currently residing in Malaysia. Following the filing of the suit, Hindraf held nationwide roadshows explaining to grassroots about the case. Coupled with their work to prevent rampant state-sanctioned demolition of Hindu temples, Hindraf won over a wave of support for their cause.Today's memorandum was to petition Queen Elizabeth II to appoint a Queen's counsel to argue the case on their behalf.
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