Anwar uses rally to gain sympathy

Malaysia opposition Anwar Ibrahim (centre) and his wife Wan Azizah (right) walk to Independence Square during a protest against Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Kuala Lumpur May 1, 2014.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday turned the opposition pact's rally to protest against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) into a platform to express his unhappiness with the outcome of his sodomy case.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters, who had gathered in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad building here, he condemned the March 7 decision by the Court of Appeal, which had sentenced him to five years' jail for sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, six years ago.

He accused the government of manipulating the judiciary and warned of "dire consequences" in the event he fails in his appeal at the Federal Court.

Anwar urged his supporters to hold more protests until the government was toppled instead of waiting for the next general election.

Touching on the GST, he described it as "a means for government leaders to enrich themselves and their cronies".

Other speakers from the opposition also used the rally as a platform to lash out at the government over various issues.

Earlier, about 15,000 people gathered at several locations here before marching to Dataran Merdeka.

Many of them brought their children along.

Police relented when they insisted on gathering in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad building.

However, they were not allowed to enter the field at Dataran Merdeka as upgrading works were being carried out there.

A commotion broke out at one point when members of different groups started to push each other, resulting in punches being thrown and mineral bottles being hurled.

The scuffles started when members of Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia, a pro-opposition non- governmental organisation, insisted on entering the restricted field but were stopped by Pas security personnel from its Unit Amal.

Unit members, however, calmed them down.

The tense situation did not end there as several disgruntled participants started to light up flares not far from the site of the gathering.

The crowd, however, dispersed peacefully at 5pm.