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300 stage rowdy protest against Penang CM, Bersih | Free Malaysia <b>...</b>

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 06:12 AM PDT

About 300 supporters of Umno and Perkasa stage a violent protest against the state government and Bersih.

GEORGE TOWN: Some 300 supporters from Umno, Perkasa and an unregistered NGO Suara Anak Anak Mamak Pulau Pinang held a nearly three-hour noisy march and violent protest in the city centre, condemning both the Pakatan Rakyat state government and the Bersih 2.0 rally.

The crowd first gathered at the historic Masjid Kapitan Keling after Friday prayers at 2.30pm.

Chanting anti-state government and anti-Bersih slogans, they then marched for about 1.5km from the mosque to Komtar via Lebuh Chulia and Jalan Penang.

Their march against the traffic flow caused a standstill and tension in the city.

Eyewitnesses said the rowdy protesters hit windshields of cars, and violently shoved aside two meida men – a photographer from the Chinese newspaper Guan Ming Daily and a videographer from a TV station.

At Komtar, the protesters chanted anti-state government and anti-Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng slogans.

They demanded Lim's resignation as chief minister on grounds that he had openly thrown his support behind the Bersih 2.0 rally planned for July 9.

Scuffles broke out when police finally took action to disperse the crowd.

Police detained eight people, including Senator Ezam Mohd Nor and Mamak Association chief Mohamed Ghani Abdul Jiman, for allegedly taking part in an illegal assembly.

Police deployed some 100 officers and men to thwart the gathering.

After the arrests and after police sounded the siren for the protesters to disperse, they gathered along Jalan Penang, where several Umno leaders, including Ezam, gave anti-state government and anti-Lim speeches.

Ezam, who was former PKR Youth chief, warned Lim that there would be more such protests in the future to force him out of office before the next general election.

Another group of demonstrators marched from Jalan Penang to the Komtar area, carrying two ducks.

They called out Penang state executive councillor and Batu Maung assemblyman Abdul Malik Abul Kassim. The police just stood by and allowed the protesters to perform their antics.

After the protest, the demonstrators marched back to the mosque via Lebuh Carnavon.

Another group proceeded to Penang Bridge. They held a separate rally, carrying banners, waving the Malaysian flag and handing out flags to passers-by.

'Most racist leader'

A journalist from Sin Chew Daily was hit on the back while the protesters warned him that they would throw him into the sea if he continued to snap their photos at close range.

The protest caused massive traffic jam on the bridge but policemen failed to take any action.

The demonstrators chanted "Guan Eng is a Communist" and claimed that he was the "most racist leader in the history of the country".

They carried banners carrying messages such as "Bumiputeras are in the government and Chinese in opposition, is there any hope for the Penang Chinese?"

The protest today was similar to the one held on March 14, 2008, a week after Pakatan captured the state.

At a press conference later, chief police officer deputy commissioner Ayub Yaakob denied receiving any directive from Lim to round up and remand all the protesters.

"I did not receive any directive. Police can take action on their own to preserve peace and harmony," he said.

Outside the police headquarters, Bayan Baru MP Zahrain Hashim insisted that Lim had issued such a directive to Ayub.

"I have information from my boys that Lim had issued such a directive. He is cruel.

"Why can't he allow a peaceful demonstration against him?" asked Zahrain.

Also present were Umno divisional heads Ahmad Ibni Hajar (Tanjung) and Musa Syeikh Fadzir (Bukit Mertajam).

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