Protesters in Malaysia join in New Year revelry

Protesters in Malaysia join in New Year revelry
Fireworks wowing the revellers at KLCC

PETALING JAYA - Thousands of protesters poured into Dataran Merdeka to cry foul over price hikes, but in the end they joined the thousands of revellers for the countdown to usher in 2014, minus the customary fireworks.

Although the performances by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall Orchestra and other artistes had to be cut short after some unruly people threw water bottles onto the stage, the New Year's party went on without any other untoward incident.

However, the presence of the protesters meant that the usual fireworks display was cancelled.

Earlier, an estimated 10,000 demonstraters from several groups led by Gerakan Turun Kos Sara Hidup (Turun) converged on the iconic field from three meeting points - Sogo Shopping Complex in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek.

While police presence was visible, there were no roadblocks in roads leading to Dataran Merdeka and nobody was arrested despite the seizure of several sharp objects.

"Our objective is to let the revellers have their fun.

"The New Year's Eve countdown and celebration is an important event every year and we are there to ensure the safety and security for all," said Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad.

The huge crowds dispersed peacefully after the New Year countdown and watched the fireworks at nearby Bukit Aman.

At a press conference later, ACP Zainuddin said four parang and three knives had been found at nearby Dayabumi earlier in the evening. Two policemen were also hurt when protesters breached the police cordon.

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