Saturday, February 7, 2009

Protesters mar swearing-in of new MB - NST

By : Jaspal Singh

KUALA KANGSAR: The scenic peace of Bukit Chandan, with the glorious and majestic Ubudiah Mosque as its famous backdrop, was shattered when tear gas was fired at demonstrators who had gathered to protest the swearing-in of the new menteri besar from Barisan Nasional.

Tearing and choking, the 3,000-strong crowd held its ground for about 40 minutes despite the volleys of tear gas fired by riot police.

At least six Federal Reserve Unit buses and trucks with around 100 fully-geared personnel were sent to Bukit Chandan after police received information that thousands of people would be protesting Sultan Azlan Shah's decision to allow BN to form the state government in Perak.

Protesters, both locals and outsiders, had earlier gathered at the Ubudiah Mosque to perform their Friday prayers.

The mosque was chosen as the gathering point due to its proximity to Istana Iskandariah, the venue for the swearing-in of Pangkor state assemblyman Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new menteri besar.

According to witnesses who spoke to the New Straits Times, the protesters began chanting religious slogans as they walked towards the palace a little after 2pm, carrying placards and banners. As they marched towards the palace, FRU personnel shot the first round of tear gas and succeeded in pushing them back to the mosque grounds.

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