Malaysian police fire tear gas to halt protest

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 (Reuters) Malaysian police used tear gas today to prevent a street protest by ethnic Indians, witnesses said, the second time this month the authorities have cracked down on demonstrations critical of the government.

A few thousand people defied official warnings to stay away from the planned rally in the capital, which had been organised by a Hindu rights group to draw attention to complaints of government discrimination against the minority ethnic Indian community.

Witnesses said Indians had regrouped a few hundred metres from the British embassy, ostensibly to call on the former colonial ruler to make reparations for bringing Indians to Malaysia as indentured labour just over a century ago.

Some ethnic Indians, who make up about 7 per cent of the population, complain that they are marginalised in terms of employment and business opportunities by a government dominated by politicians from the majority race of ethnic Malays.

Reuters TB VP0658

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