Massive protests against Malaysia PM despite arrests, rally ban

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bersih-5-rallyTens of thousands of protesters, unimpressed by the arrests of opposition leaders, marched in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur on November 19, demanding that scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak step down.

Protesters clad in yellow shirts marched through the heart of Kuala Lumpur bringing traffic to a standstill in several tourist spots, wrapping up peacefully in front of the Petronas Twin Towers after an initial plan to assemble at Independence Square was thwarted by police.

Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad, Najib’s fiercest critic, joined protesters in front of the Twin Towers.

“Let him come and arrest us all. We will stand up for our leaders including Maria Chin who has been arrested for the wrong reasons,” said 91-year-old Mahathir.

Muhyiddin Yassin – the former deputy prime minister who was sacked and now leads a new party chaired by Mahathir – was also present, leading the crowds in chants of “Step down Najib!”

Najib has faced criticism since since it has been reported last year that around $700 million from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was diverted into the personal bank account of the prime minister.

Najib ran into further trouble when lawsuits filed by the US Justice Department in July said over $3.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB, which was founded by Najib, and that some of those funds flowed into the accounts of “Malaysian Official 1”, whom U.S. and Malaysian officials have identified as Najib.

However, the demonstration is unlikely to shake the prime minister, who has denied wrongdoing and weathered the crisis, consolidating power by cracking down on dissenters.

Eleven activists and opposition leaders were arrested one day before the rally and at least two more were detained during the protests. The deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said there could be more arrests in the coming days.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Tens of thousands of protesters, unimpressed by the arrests of opposition leaders, marched in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur on November 19, demanding that scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak step down.

Reading Time: 1 minute

bersih-5-rallyTens of thousands of protesters, unimpressed by the arrests of opposition leaders, marched in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur on November 19, demanding that scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak step down.

Protesters clad in yellow shirts marched through the heart of Kuala Lumpur bringing traffic to a standstill in several tourist spots, wrapping up peacefully in front of the Petronas Twin Towers after an initial plan to assemble at Independence Square was thwarted by police.

Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad, Najib’s fiercest critic, joined protesters in front of the Twin Towers.

“Let him come and arrest us all. We will stand up for our leaders including Maria Chin who has been arrested for the wrong reasons,” said 91-year-old Mahathir.

Muhyiddin Yassin – the former deputy prime minister who was sacked and now leads a new party chaired by Mahathir – was also present, leading the crowds in chants of “Step down Najib!”

Najib has faced criticism since since it has been reported last year that around $700 million from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was diverted into the personal bank account of the prime minister.

Najib ran into further trouble when lawsuits filed by the US Justice Department in July said over $3.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB, which was founded by Najib, and that some of those funds flowed into the accounts of “Malaysian Official 1”, whom U.S. and Malaysian officials have identified as Najib.

However, the demonstration is unlikely to shake the prime minister, who has denied wrongdoing and weathered the crisis, consolidating power by cracking down on dissenters.

Eleven activists and opposition leaders were arrested one day before the rally and at least two more were detained during the protests. The deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said there could be more arrests in the coming days.

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