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SE Asia

KL protest disperses peacefully as New Year rings in

Published on Jan 1, 2014 12:38 AM
Fireworks explode near Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers during the New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur on January 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Thousands of people gathered at the Malaysian capital city's Dataran Merdeka square (Independence Square) have dispersed peacefully at the end of a burst of fireworks to welcome the new year.

While thousands of families, including children, were here to attend the free concert at the open square in Kuala Lumpur's historic district, thousands of others had converged here to protest peacefully against a series of price hikes.
News website Malaysiakini put the number of protesters at 10,000. The Star newspaper put the protest crowd at 5,000.

Malaysia's inner-city rail networks - the LRT, RapidKL and the Monorail - extended their services by up to two hours to 2am to allow everyone enough time to take a ride home.

The police, which had warned that the protest was being organised to overthrow the goverment, in the end adopted a softer stance by allowing the demonstrators to march into Dataran Merdeka.

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