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Men in blue keep red-shirts at bay, business as usual at M'kini
Published:  Nov 5, 2016 4:34 PM
Updated: 9:13 AM

The road leading to the Malaysiakini office in Petaling Jaya looked like a conflict zone as scores of police vehicles and personnel, including those decked in anti-riot gear, stood guard.

The heavy police presence managed to deter the red-shirt protesters from holding a demonstration directly outside the news portal’s office this afternoon.

Instead, about 700 of them gathered 80 metres away - at the main entrance of PJ51 Business Park which houses a complex of eight buildings, including that of Malaysiakini’s.

At the end of the two-hour protest, the red-shirts however marched within 20 metres of Malaysiakini office, only to be blocked by a wall of 100 police personnel, backed by members of the light strike force and Federal Reserve Unit (FRU).

Behind the blue line were eight police vehicles and three bright red water cannon trucks. There was a standoff for about 30 minutes before the red-shirts decided to disperse.

Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan commended the police for maintaining security of the news portal’s building and staff.

"We lodged a police report yesterday over the threat to 'tear down' our building. I’m happy the police took it seriously," he said.

Meanwhile, it was business as usual in Malaysiakini, with dozens of journalists and editors working inside the building while the red-shirts protested outside.

Gan said the independent news portal has faced numerous threats and intimidation, but these failed to deter it from continuing to carry out its tasks.

"Over the past 17 years, we've been through a number of testing times, and each time we have emerged stronger," he added.

As for the protest, Gan said the red-shirts have the right to hold peaceful assemblies.

"Let them have their say. But they should also respect the right of others to speak their minds too," he added.