About 45,000 people took the streets for the 'Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu' rally in Kuala Lumpur today as a counter-move to the Bersih 4 rally on Aug 29 and 30.
Umno denied having a hand in today's protest but the organiser National Silat Federation (Pesaka) is seen as a front for the party as the martial arts body is spearheaded by Umno leaders including former Malacca chief minister Mohd Ali Rustam.
Despite senior Umno leaders taking over from grassroots hardliners in a bid to tone down the rally, it was marred by racism with abuses hurled at Chinese journalists and provocative banners being displayed.
The major target of the protesters was opposition party DAP, which has conveniently been turned into a euphemism for the minority Chinese in Malaysia.
While the rally at Padang Merbok was peaceful, violence broke out at Petaling Street where a group of almost 800 protesters tried to force their way into the predominantly Chinese business district, popularly known as Chinatown.
The tense stand-off between police guarding the area and the protesters clad in red T-shirts culminated into the firing of a water cannon by riot police. Three police officers and several protestors were injured in the scuffle.
Read Malaysiakini ' s live updates on the protest.