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Small blasts after Malaysia's Anwar verdict

Three small explosions were heard on Monday outside the court where opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was cleared in a sodomy trial, with police blaming firecrackers.

world Updated: Jan 09, 2012 08:57 IST

Three small explosions were heard on Monday outside the court where opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was cleared in a sodomy trial, with police blaming firecrackers.

The small but loud blasts occurred within minutes of each other after Anwar left the courthouse in central Kuala Lumpur in triumph following his acquittal in a case he has called a government fabrication to cripple the opposition.

Witnesses said two people were taken away in an ambulance with minor injuries but AFP could not immediately confirm this.

Police said the blasts were due to firecrackers but would not confirm whether anyone was hurt.

At least one of the explosions damaged a motorcycle and shattered the window of a van, according to AFP journalists at the scene.

One of the blasts appeared to have exploded under a police cone.

Police cordoned off the affected areas and pushed back reporters, declining further comment other than to say firecrackers had been set off and that they were investigating.

Crowds estimated by police to number at least 5,000 had gathered outside the court from before dawn in a show of support for the 64-year-old Anwar.

The blasts occurred as his supporters were rallying in the streets to celebrate the verdict.

The verdict in the long-running trial defied the expectations of many political observers and even Anwar himself, who had said the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak was intent on eliminating him as a political threat.