Malaysians stage anti-govt protest despite Covid curbs

Kuala Lumpur

Hundreds of black-clad Malaysians staged an anti-government protest in defiance of a ban on public gatherings under coronavirus curbs, piling pressure on the embattled prime minister to resign.

The mostly young protesters, wearing masks and keeping a distance from one another, waved banners reading “failed government” as well as black flags.

It was the first sizeable demonstration in Malaysia for some time, as many had been reluctant to take to the streets due to virus curbs and for fear of getting infected.

But anger is growing at the government’s handling of a virus outbreak — which is escalating despite a lockdown — and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s attempts to keep his crisis-riven administration in power.

“We fight because while the people are suffering, this government is busy playing politics,” Karmun Loh, taking part in the protest in downtown Kuala Lumpur, said.

“This government is… crippling the economy and also destroying our country’s democracy.” Muhyiddin “is a terrible prime minister”, added demonstrator Shaq Koyok.

“He needs to step down.” There was a heavy police presence and officers blocked attempts by protesters to enter a central square before the rally peacefully dispersed.

Organisers said about 1,000 demonstrators took part but police put the number at around 400. Police told local media that the protesters will be called in for questioning as they had violated the ban on gatherings.—Agencies

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