Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ethnic Indians protest in Malaysia - Al Jazeera

Members of Malaysia's Indian community have protested on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

They are demanding equal rights in a country they believe discriminates against them.

They are also said to place blame on the colonial policies of Britain, and were intending to deliver a petition to the British High Commission in Malaysia.

Al Jazeera's Hamish MacDonald was there.

Malaysian police fire tear gas at ethnic Indian protesters: witnesses - Channel NewsAsia

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police fired tear gas at ethnic Indian protesters rallying here Sunday in support of a four trillion dollar lawsuit that blames Britain for their economic problems, witnesses said.

At least 8,000 protesters defied a ban and pushed their way towards the British High Commission (embassy) despite a heavy security presence.

Police used water cannon on the crowd that had gathered from around the country despite a police blockade since Thursday.

"Over the last 50 years Indian have been marginalised in this country and we now want the same rights as enjoyed by other communities," M. Kulasegaran, opposition lawmaker with the Democratic Action Party, told AFP.

"They have no rights to stop us from protesting today. This is the will of the people," he said.

The lawsuit targets Britain, Malaysia's former colonial ruler, and is aimed at highlighting what ethnic Indians there say is continuing discrimination.

It seeks four trillion dollars' compensation for the estimated two million ethnic Indians whose ancestors were brought here as indentured labourers by Britain in the 1800s.

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