Over the weekend, thousands of protesters rallied in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to demand Prime Minister Najib Razak’s resignation over a financial scandal.
The Bersih (“clean” in Bahasa) demonstration brought a flood of participants wearing yellow down the streets, chanting “Save Democracy” and “Bersih, Bersih.”
Amid the anger and emotionally-charged atmosphere, an unidentified lady carried this very polite sign:
It says: “Sorry 4 the inconvenience, we are trying 2 improve Malaysia.”
The latest Bersih rally is the fifth since 2007. While it was started in opposition to the current coalition government in Malaysia, much of the attention has been shifted to Najib.
Two years ago, graft allegations emerged involving the indebted 1MDB state fund that he founded.
1MDB is at the centre of investigations in the U.S. and several other countries the U.S. Justice Department has said that at least $3.5 billion had been stolen from 1MDB by people close to Najib.
Najib, who has denied any wrongdoing, has said he won’t be cowed by the rallies at home.
The day before Saturday’s rally, police raided the Bersih organisers office on Friday, and detained its chairwoman, Maria Chin.
14 others connected to the rally have also been detained, police said.
Human rights group Amnesty International slammed the crackdown and called for the immediate release of the Bersih activists, describing them as prisoners of conscience.
“These arrests are the latest in a series of crude and heavy-handed attempts to intimidate Malaysian civil society activists and other human rights defenders,” Amnesty said in a statement.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
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