“Malaysia’s Hindus — mostly Tamil descendents of 19th century labourers — on Sunday ignored warnings by Prime Minister Abdul Badawi and braved tear gas and police batons to protest alleged official discrimination and demand a fair share of the national wealth. Their street demonstration, the first on this large scale since independence in 1957, shut down the city centre that is overlooked by the gleaming Twin Towers, the capital’s famed landmark. Commuters, shoppers and workers ran helter-skelter as teargas canisters rained on the protestors and filled the air with chemicals. Malaysiakini.com, an independent online news provider, put the number of protestors at 20,000, while other estimates said upto 50,000 people had turned up.
Many were turned away or arrested as they came into the city from the interior, said the organiser of Hindu Rights Action Force or HINDRAF, that was formed in 2005 to fight for Hindu rights. Many protestors waved the Malaysian flag and carried pictures of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi hung around their necks to signify non-violent protest.

They also carried banners urging the authorities to let them voice their grievances peaceably. “We only want to tell you our problems… don’t treat us like animals,” one banner said. But their cry for understanding and moderation went unheeded.”

via IPS News

(see also the Attack on Sufis)