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Malaysian police allow protesters to march, shout slogans

Published on Dec 31, 2013 11:35 PM
Anti-price hike protesters, mostly university students, starting a march to Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by the thousands on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: LESTER KONG

Malaysian police have allowed several thousand protesters to march from several places in the capital city into the Dataran Merdeka square on the eve of the New Year, taking a softer stance from its earlier warnings that the demonstrators had wanted to overthrow the government.

At around 11pm tonight, several dozen policemen had massed around the square where a New Year's Eve concert is ongoing, and police helicopter buzzed overhead.

But the police have largely allowed the protesters to join the thousands of New Year revellers who sat at the large grass field that forms the centre of the square to listen to a concert. Others sat on the roads that have been closed around the area and on roadside kerbs.

There were no sign of police in riot gear or the dreaded water cannon trucks, a scene removed from previous street demonstrations in Malaysia.

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