Driv­ers left foam­ing

Malaysians take to streets over fi­nan­cial scan­dal

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Thou­sands of yel­low-shirt pro­test­ers ral­lied in down­town Kuala Lumpur seek­ing Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak’s res­ig­na­tion over a fi­nan­cial scan­dal, un­de­terred by a po­lice ban and the ar­rest of 17 ac­tivists.

Po­lice bar­ri­caded key roads in down­town Kuala Lumpur and put wa­ter-can­non trucks on standby, but it did not stop pro­test­ers. Some were chant­ing “Save Democ­racy” and “Ber­sih, Ber­sih” – the name of the elec­toral re­form group that or­gan­ised the rally. The name means “clean” in Malay.

The pro­test­ers gath­ered around the In­de­pen­dent Square yes­ter­day, the main venue that was locked down by po­lice. A smaller group of red-shirt pro-gov­ern­ment sup­port­ers held a counter-rally.

Na­jib, who is at­tend­ing an Asia-Pa­cific sum­mit in Lima, Peru, has kept an iron grip since graft al­le­ga­tions emerged two years ago in­volv­ing the in­debted 1MDB state fund that he founded. 1MDB is at the cen­ter of probes in the US and other coun­tries.

Na­jib, who has de­nied any wrong­do­ing, has said he won’t be cowed by the ral­lies.

In a state­ment on his blog, Na­jib called Ber­sih “de­ceit­ful” and said the group has be­come a tool for op­po­si­tion par­ties to un­seat an elected gov­ern­ment.

“We want to see Malaysia more de­vel­oped and not robbed of bil­lions of ring­git,” said Wan Aisyah Wan Arif­fin, an op­po­si­tion sup­porter.

Po­lice said they raided the Ber­sih of­fice on Fri­day and de­tained its chair­woman Maria Chin for in­ves­ti­ga­tion into “ac­tiv­i­ties detri­men­tal to par­lia­men­tary democ­racy.”

An­other Ber­sih of­fi­cial, Man­deep Singh, and 12 oth­ers in­clud­ing sev­eral politi­cians were also de­tained, mostly to pre­vent ri­ot­ing, the po­lice said.

Those de­tained in­clude rul­ing party politi­cian Ja­mal Mo­hamad Yunos, whose sup­port­ers trooped to down­town Kuala Lumpur to counter the Ber­sih rally. Po­lice have banned both events

Ber­sih said on Twit­ter that an­other of its of­fi­cial, Hishamud­din Rais, was nabbed Satur­day af­ter giv­ing a speech to sup­port­ers.

Marco Guerra checks out his car af­ter driv­ing it through chem­i­cal foam used as a fire re­tar­dant that spilled out from a hangar at San Jose In­ter­na­tional Air­port in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia. A sea of white foam sev­eral feet deep in spots spewed out of a large hangar at the air­port.

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