Malaysian police use tear gas on a huge demonstration in Kuala Lumpur, with protesters demanding electoral reform.
Malaysian police have used tear gas and water cannon as protesters demanded electoral reforms in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, ahead of upcoming national polls.
In one of South Asia's largest street rallies in the past 10 years, at least 25,000 demonstrators - many of whom were wearing yellow t-shirts - gathered in the largest Malaysian city to voice concern that Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition, which has been in power for over 50 years, could have an unfair advantage in elections.
According to reports from press agency AFP, protesters trampled through barbed wire barricades as they poured into the heavily guarded Independence Square, defying a ban on holding the rally at the venue in the heart of the congested capital.
The elections, which do not need to be held until mid 2013, could be held as early as June, with speculation that Najib might dissolve the country's parliament next month and seek a new mandate at that time.
Last July, around 20,000 demonstrators also staged a rally in Kuala Lumpur, authorities. Authorities used tear gas and water cannons then, as well, and briefly arrested about 1,600 demonstrators.
Since the demonstration, authorities have established a panel to study electoral regulations and agreed curb voting fraud.
sb/mz (AP, Reuters, AFP)