Over 10,000 opposition-backed Malaysians gathered at a stadium to protest against the recent hike of up to 63 per cent in fuel prices by the Abdullah Badawi government, ignoring a warning by police which termed the demonstration illegal.
Hundreds more are expected to join the protest in the evening when prominent opposition leaders, including Anwar Ibrahim, are expected to address the crowd.
Wearing red shirts emblazoned with the word "protest" to voice their dissent, the protesters started heading towards the stadium since morning to hear opposition leaders' address. Supporters of Hindu Rights Action Force, which had spearheaded a campaign against the alleged marginalisation of ethnic Indians, also rallied with the crowds shouting slogans.
Despite the huge crowd, only a few police patrol cars monitored the area.
The demonstration is being held in the area of Petaling Jaya which is under the Selangor state governed by the opposition People's Alliance, which approved the protest organised by opposition and non-government bodies.
The federal police had banned the rally as the organisers had not sought permission to hold the gathering against over 40 per cent hike in petrol prices and 63 per cent in diesel prices.