KL mayor angry at disruption

KL mayor angry at disruption
Anti-government protesters breached barricades put up around Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, and invaded the area cordoned off for VIPs on New Year's Eve.

KUALA LUMPUR - Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal yesterday voiced his frustration over the New Year's Eve celebrations at Dataran Merdeka, which were marred by anti-government protesters.

He said the celebration on Tuesday was not only important to the city but also to the nation, as it marked the new year and kicked off Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

"Protesters took the opportunity of the public gathering at the New Year's Eve celebration to hold the rally to express their dissatisfaction on certain issues," he said.

The celebration also broke tradition because, for the first time in history, there was no countdown or fireworks display to mark the new year at Dataran Merdeka.

"It was not possible to make the countdown as the protesters kept interrupting the event.

"Instead of wishing revellers a Happy New Year, I had to change my address into advice and calls for the protesters to stay calm so the celebration could continue smoothly."

Phesal said it was unfortunate the concert had to be stopped after plastic bottles were hurled at the stage.

"We had to stop the performance to ensure the safety of the musicians and their equipment. The unused fireworks will be recycled for other future events."

Phesal was quoted by Bernama as saying the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) would hold a special meeting with the police to discuss the appropriate action that could be taken against the rally's organiser, Turun Kos Sara Hidup (Turun).

"We have yet to identify the appropriate action to be taken, whether to sue the organiser or any other form of action.".

Asked about the chorus of boos which greeted him while he was giving his speech, Phesal said he thought only about his responsibility to the public, and this gave him the strength to remain on stage until the event ended.

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