Cars set on fire, developer’s office vandalised as temple protest continues

PETALING JAYA: What was initially a peaceful protest at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in USJ25 near Subang Jaya last night quickly turned unruly after a car was set on fire.

The car was parked on the opposite side of the road from the temple.

Sections of the over 1,000 people that had gathered near the temple since 8pm cheered as flames engulfed the car.

When a fire and rescue truck arrived at the scene to douse the fire, protesters charged towards the truck, forcing it to retreat.

At the same time, another group of protesters vandalised a car that was parked in front of the temple.

Before long that car too was engulfed in flames. The crowd could be seen moving on to vandalise another car.

An FMT photographer who was taking pictures of the burning car was threatened by one of the protesters.

Around 1.20am, a badly damaged Emergency Medical Rescue Services van arrived at the police station in USJ8.

The van, believed to have been vandalised by protesters, had its rear windows smashed and dents to its door.

Moments later, a fire engine rolled in, its front windscreen shattered.

It is understood that the two vehicles were attacked by an unruly crowd.

There was a strong presence of Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel, with as many as seven trucks around.

However, the trucks had their path blocked by protesters and their vehicles.

The unruly crowd then headed towards the office of the developer, One City, located about 500 metres away. There, they pelted it with rocks and smashed the glass doors and windows.

Some of them entered the office and did more damage to the reception area.

A motorcyclist and his pillion rider who wanted to pass through the crowd were also beaten up. As some hit them while they were on the ground, another group of protesters intervened and pulled the attackers away.

The crowd was at the One City office for about 15 minutes before heading back to the temple just before police reinforcements arrived.

The police’s Public Order and Riot Unit have since secured the building.

This is the second day of trouble at the site of the temple which is due for relocation.

Yesterday, an early morning scuffle between the devotees and a second group saw 18 cars burned and members of the second group rushing into the temple to attack devotees.

Police have detained 17 people in connection to yesterday’s incident.

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