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Tuesday December 31, 2013 MYT 8:32:00 PM
Wednesday January 1, 2014 MYT 1:12:19 AM
by farik zolkepli, tashny sukumaran, t avineshwaran, jastin ahmad tarmazi, AND nicholas cheng
KUALA LUMPUR: The New Year Eve concert at Dataran Merdeka was stopped after someone threw a bottle at the stage Tuesday night.
Policemen rushed to the stage to prevent any incident forcing the concert to be cancelled at about 11.30pm. An individual was caught and scolded by several people for throwing the bottle.
The revellers and protesters sat down again when someone shouted Duduk, dataran kita punya (Sit down Dataran is ours).
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib went on stage to speak to the crowd. However, his greeting of "salam 1Malaysia" was greeted by boos and shouts of reformasi.
He, however, told the crowd to be mindful of the children and families at Dataran Merdeka.
Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia's Badrul Hisham Shaharin, who was on the field, was heard telling the Ahmad Phesal that the protesters were not a fierce lot.
"We have caught the person who threw a bottle and have turned him over to the police. We are peaceful. We want to ring in the new year peacefully. But the voice of the people must be heard. Turun!"
The crowd continued to remain at Dataran Merdeka after they sang the national anthem. The main lights on the stage and floodlights on the field were dimmed minutes after midnight.
There was no fireworks display. The crowd, instead, turned on their cellphones to light up the area.
Earlier, police had to beef up their presence at Dataran Merdeka in view of the larger than expected crowd of New Year revellers.
Apart from the thousands of revellers attending a countdown party organised City Hall, police anticipate more to converge at the place to protest over price hikes.
Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief Datuk Amar Singh and Dang Wangi OCPD ACP Zainuddin Ahmad and other officers were at Dataran Merdeka supervising the security.
More than six busloads of police personnel arrived at about 8pm to man strategic locations.
The crowd started to trickle in as early as 7pm.
Several NGOs have voiced their intention to gather at the iconic field to protest the price hikes. Among them are Gerakan Turun Kos Sara Hidup (Turun), Jingga 13, Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia and the youth wing of Pakatan Rakyat.
Police have said the organisers were planning "to overthrow the government."
11.20pm: Some sections of the protesters have gone inside the field. Some protesters seen throwing bottles at the concert stage. Concert stopped and policemen go up on stage.
11.15pm: Some of the protesters direct their booing at the New Year countdown celebration.
11.00pm: Protesters break through police line and enter Dataran Merdeka. Presence of protesters near the concert stage did not disrupt countdown party.
9.00pm: A large crowd gather at the entrance of Sogo shopping complex getting ready to march to Dataran Merdeka. Organisers are giving speeches on the loud speaker at the entrance of Sogo. Passing vehicles honk, people wave and drivers rev up engines to cheers and the blaring vuvuzelas from the protesters.
Protesters came in a jolly mood, sporting black Turun shirts and banners. No police presence here, but the group has been asked to move away from the building by Central Market employees as they were obstructing the entrance.
James Tee from Subang said he didn't plan to join the rally but happened across it by chance.
"I heard about it and I agree that prices in this country have been going up unreasonably. Since I'm here I'll put on the shirt also," he said.
71-year-old Mohd Amin came all the way from Johor to support the rally.
"Its the people's problem so I must support. I'm not happy with the price hikes and cost of living must be reduced," he said, adding that his family members also came down but were going to other checkpoints.
8.30pm: About 1,000 people have gathered on the field. ACP Zainuddin said there should be adequate policemen to handle security.
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