One of Malaysia's largest rallies for years took place in Independent Square with tens of thousands voicing their anger over an alleged corruption scandal involving Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The crowd camped out in central Kuala Lumpur for a second night in a peaceful protest. Organisers Bersih (the Malay word for clean) say over 200,000 turned out although police put the figure at closer to 29,000.
"We are hoping to have as many people as yesterday to send the message to this government: they have been lying and stealing and bullying for far too long and the public won't take it anymore," said Simon Tam, a lawyer, who was present at the protest.
Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi, who also is home minister in charge of domestic security, warned organisers that they face possible charges under assembly, sedition and other laws.
"We also follow every word they say, we know the actions taken by them," he was quoted saying by state media. police declared the protest illegal, blocked the organisers' website and banned their official bright yellow T-shirt and logo. The rally is scheduled to last until midnight Sunday to usher in Malaysia's 58th National Day.
"This is a watershed moment. Malaysians are united in their anger at the mismanagement of this country. We are saying loudly that there should be a change in the leadership," said protester Azrul Khalib, who slept on the street with his friends.
He said he was aware that the rally will not bring change overnight, but he wants to be "part of efforts to build a new Malaysia".
Prime Minister Najib Razak is under political pressure after the Wall Street Journal published Malaysian documents showing nearly $700m (£400m) had been deposited into his personal bank accounts since 2013.
His cabinet ministers have called the transfers "political donations" from unidentified Middle Eastern sources. The accounts have since been closed and what happened to the money is unknown. Najib denies all wrongdoing, alleging a "political conspiracy" to topple him.
"Those who wear this yellow attire… they want to discredit our good name, scribble black coal on Malaysia's face to the outside world," Najib was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama, referring to the yellow T-shirts worn by the protesters.
Previous Bersih rallies, in 2011 and 2012, were dispersed by police using tear gas and water cannons. According to Malaysia Today, unlike the 2012 rally, this protest lacks the support of a party identified with the Malay majority as most of the protesters were from the ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.