(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) -- Some 1,667 demonstrators were arrested in Malaysia Saturday after clashing with riot police in a march to the capital city Kuala Lumpur in demand of electoral reforms, authorities said.
The Royal Malaysia Police fired tear gas as several thousand people gathered near a sports stadium where the demonstrators organized to rally.
The protest, headed by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, was organized by a loose coalition of opposition groups known as Bersih 2.0, an organization declared illegal by the government.
Ibrahim was among hundreds of protesters who gathered at the Hilton hotel in Kuala Lumpur before heading toward the Sentral Station.
The protesters then breached police lines and marched through the rail station, before being met by riot police with tear gas on the other side.
Opposition groups have been seeking to put pressure on Prime Minister Najib Razak's government, which has been in power for decades, before next year’s elections.
Local media reported a strong police presence around the city and many roads closed.
A similar demonstration headed by the Bersih coalition in 2007 was broken up by police using water cannon and tear gas, local reports indicated.
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