As many as 100,000 demonstrators in Kuala Lumpur protesting for election reform were met by tear gas and chemical-laced water, reports the AP. The peaceful protest lasted for several hours, but as it was dispersing a small group tried to cross police barricades, leading to the chemical response. Government officials estimated the number of protesters at 25,000, but news organizations had a much higher count.
"We accept that there are issues," said Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman. "We have worked very hard to address them, introducing a raft of reforms to ensure that our country's next election is the freest and fairest ever." The ruling coalition has held power for 50 years, and opposition groups worry that it is rigging election rules for the coming vote, which could be as early as June. "I'm here because I'm a Malaysian and I love my country," said an information technology manager. "There's no election that's perfect, but I want one that's fair enough."