Malaysian embassy in Manila suspends operations amid protests
PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysia's embassy in Manila, the Philippines, has temporarily suspended its operations from today, the New Straits Times reported.
It is learnt that the closure was in response to protests of several groups outside the embassy supporting a Filipino group which has occupied a palm-oil plantation in Malaysia's Sabah state for three weeks in defiance of request that they leave the place.
The occupation group has launched the operation for people claiming to be descendants of the southern Philippines' sultanate of Sulu, in a move to "take back" what they see as the latter's "territories".
Malaysian troops backed by fighter jets attacked the armed Filipino group on Tuesday, trying to end the standoff on the Borneo island, which has killed at least 27 people and sparked fears of broader insecurity in the resource-rich region.
According to the Philippines' ABS-CBN News, there were at least 100 Catholic and Muslim protesters gathered in front of the Malaysia embassy in Manila on Tuesday.
While some protesters called for an end to the violence in Sabah, others were seen voicing their support for Jamalul Kiram III, the sultan of Sulu in exile.
They were led by an umbrella group called Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and marched to the embassy. But the police blocked them before they could reach the premises, said the NST.
Meanwhile, several photos were posted on the Twitter account of ABS-CBN News showing police blocking the entrance to the embassy, holding back protesters carrying a banner that says: "Stop Military Offensive! Resolve Sabah Standoff Peacefully."