Police break up Malaysia protest against the use of English in local schools.

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Mar 7 19:40:28 UTC 2009

Police break up Malaysia protest

Tear gas fired at Malay protesters  Riot police in Malaysia have fired
tear gas to disperse thousands of people in Kuala Lumpur, who
protested against the use of English in local schools. Some 124 people
were reportedly held, as the demonstrators tried to march to the royal
palace in the capital.
The ethnic Malay protesters demanded a return to Malay as the teaching
language for maths and science. Both subjects have been taught in
English since 2003 to improve pupils' poor language skills, officials
say. Language - along with race and faith - remains a sensitive issue
in the multi-ethnic Malaysia, correspondents say.

'No choice'

The demonstrators chanted "Long live the Malay language!" as they
marched through Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. Protesters said police
started firing tear gas when they tried to march from a mosque to the
royal palace, several kilometres away. "It was a peaceful march. They
shot without any warning," protester Hatta Ramli was quoted as saying
by the AFP news agency. Police said they had no choice but to use tear
gas, saying the organisers had agreed that there would be no
gatherings or rallies in the capital. Police added that the organisers
had also agreed beforehand to send representatives into the palace to
hand in a petition against the use of English in schools.


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