Three Arrested as Police Break up Pro-Anwar Demonstration
Malaysian police Friday broke up a demonstration by supporters of ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim outside a court building and arrested three protestors, witnesses said.
About 100 demonstrators had gathered outside the magistrates' court to show support for some 30 people due to go on trial for being involved in an earlier pro-Anwar protest.
"They were chanting "reformist" when about 50 riot squad personnel armed with batons moved in to disperse the crowd," a witness told AFP.
"Three protesters were arrested after a brief scuffle with police," she said.
"Reformasi" -- reform -- was a popular battle cry of Anwar's, calling for the end of corruption, cronyism and nepotism, which he alleged was being practiced by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's administration.
"We have the right to be here. Why are you chasing me away?" an elderly woman screamed at the police.
The demonstrators then sought shelter in a nearby shopping mall after one protester shouted: "We will disperse now. The verdict of Anwar Ibrahim has been postponed. We shall return on another day."
A Malaysian court Thursday postponed the verdict in Anwar's trial on sodomy charges a day before it was due.
Anwar, sacked by Mahathir in September 1998, is already serving a six-year jail term for abusing his official powers. He faces up to 20 years in jail if found guilty of sodomy -- KUALA LUMPUR (AFP)
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