KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian police arrested 30 protesters at a rally of more than 10,000 people in Kuala Lumpur, demonstrating against a new tax, city police chief Tajudin Md Isa said, state-run Bernama news agency reported a day after the protest.
Police said protesters lit firecrackers and smoke bombs at a nearby bank building during Friday’s rally outside the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, according to Bernama.
The rally was one of the largest shows of public dissent in the capital since allegations of election fraud sparked mass protests after Prime Minister Najib Razak narrowly won re-election two years ago.
The protesters were demanding the government remove a goods and services tax (GST) which came into effect on April 1 at a rate of 6 percent.
The leader of the election reform movement, Ambiga Sreenevasan, was among those detained for questioning, the police chief was quoted as saying.
Najib’s administration has introduced the consumption tax to help reduce its budget deficit at a time when Malaysia is suffering from low global prices for its oil and natural gas exports.
Malaysia’s influential former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who stepped down in 2003 after running the country for 22 years, also seized on the issue to keep up attacks on Najib.
Last month, Mahathir called on Najib to quit, saying the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition would likely lose the next election with him at the helm.
Reporting By Yantoultra Ngui and Trinna Leong; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore