10 Jul '11, 11am

Malaysian PM defends protest crackdown

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday defended the government's handling of street protests amid intense criticism heightened by the death of a demonstrator. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at thousands of protesters who were demanding electoral reform on Saturday, sparking scenes of mayhem in the capital Kuala Lumpur and stinging criticism from human rights watchdogs. Officers also arrested more than 1,600 people, including prominent opposition figures, in the crackdown although the police said all had been freed by midnight Saturday. Observers said the death of a 59-year-old taxi driver who collapsed while running away from tear gas could further stoke anti-government sentiment. Baharuddin Ahmad, a former soldier, was fleeing after police fired gas canisters when he collapsed, his brother Mohamad Sharin told AFP. He was dead by the time...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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