Thwarted by police, Red Shirts end Malaysiakini rally peacefully

Members of  the Red Shirts movement protest outside the Malaysiakini office in Petaling Jyaa, November 5, 2011. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Members of the Red Shirts movement protest outside the Malaysiakini office in Petaling Jyaa, November 5, 2011. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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PETALING JAYA, Nov 5 ― The Red Shirts movement ended their protest in front of Malaysiakini’s office today peacefully after the police refused them entry into the building.

Over 500 protesters marched towards the news portal’s office here at about 3.45 pm today, but met a police barricade.

The movement’s leader, Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos, briefly negotiated with the police, demanding that Malaysiakini’s management come down to meet the group.

However, after their demands were not met, Jamal ordered his supporters to disperse, promising that the Red Shirts will gather again to counter the Bersih 5 rally later this month.

The participants also irked the police after a couple of water bottles were thrown in the direction of the officers, but were asked to leave peacefully by their leaders.

“We demand that the government close down Malaysiakini and also that they revoke any permission given to Malaysiakini (to operate),” Jamal said upon reaching the barricade.

The protest was held following allegations that Malaysiakini had received funding from controversial American billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF).

OSF has been accused of attempting to “overthrow the government” via civil society organisations, a claim that the body had denied.

Malaysiakini also stated previously that it only received a one-off grant from OSF for a couple of documentaries meant for its video arm KiniTV in 2011.

The protesters initially chanted “bagi laluan” (give way) directed at the police, but Jamal later asked his supporters not to antagonise the police.

“We are not Bersih; we follow the law. We respect the police. We are here not to fight them (the police),” he said, referring to the polls reform group the Red Shirts are opposed to.

Shortly after Jamal negotiated with the police, the crowd quickly dispersed while claiming “victory”.

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