Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 16:05:08 +0800
From: Meena Raman
Please see the press reports yesterday which gives details about the Singapore Government warning to protestors.
The warning came as Singapore suggested it might impose restrictions on n agreement with the IMF and the World Bank to allow demonstrations during their meetings in September.
The Singapore Government does not normally allow demonstrations and this warning to cane or imprison "violent" protesters is indeed most disconcerting. It is difficult to fathom how the Government will be able to anticipate and vet those suspected of "violent' acts. The result will likely be an unwarranted screening of particpants to the events related to the official meetings and anyone who enters Singapore during that period. Moreover, how does one ensure that peaceful demonstrations do not turn problematic when they could be all kinds of provocation and
unforseen situations that can arise as seen in other recent protests
against the Bretton Woods institutions.
Further, imposing restrictions on demonstrations by civil society to
express their outrage at the brutal policies of the IMF and World Bank that impoverish societies and destroy the environment, is indeed a restriction on the freedom of expression and the right to dissent against unjust policies of the Bretton Woods institutions.
In order to show our protest against the Singapore Government's
approach in this regard, we urge all all citizen groups to do the
- immediately boycott Singapore Airlines (the national carrier) for
all world travel
- express our protest in front of the Singapore Airlines offices around the world calling on people to boycott the airlines in view of the policy of the Singapore Government
We hope you would make all efforts to ensure that sufficient pressure is put on Singapore Airlines as a symbol of our collective protest against the Singapore Government.
Mr. S. Mohd Idris,
Consumers Association of Penang
Friends of the Earth Malaysia
*Tuesday January 17, 12:18 PM*
*Singapore ready to cane World Ban/IMF protestors
SINGAPORE, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Singapore's government said it is prepared to cane or imprison protesters who commit violent crimes during the annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings, to be held in the city-state in September.
The World Bank and IMF expect about 16,000 people to attend their annual meetings, which often attract anti-globalisation demonstrations and other protesters.
Tightly controlled Singapore bans public demonstrations or protests, and uses punishments including caning and the death penalty to curb crime.
"The Police would not hesitate to investigate and prosecute any breach of our laws," Wong Kan Seng, Singapore's Minister for Home Affairs, told Parliament on Monday, according to a written answer to questions distributed by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts on Tuesday.
"This is especially so for any person or groups committing violent
crimes such as vandalism, arson, and causing hurt which would attract severe punishment, including caning and imprisonment," Wong said.
Singapore attracted worldwide attention in 1994 when an American
teenager, Michael Fay, was caned for vandalism.
The city-state is keen to attract more conferences and other big events to boost tourism. The World Bank/IMF meeting is an opportunity for it to show off its modern infrastructure.
Financial Times Report -
*Singapore threatens to cane violent anti-IMF protesters
*By John Burton in Singapore
Published: January 18 2006 02:00 | Last updated: January 18 2006 02:00
Violent protesters at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Singapore could face caning and imprisonment, a minister said yesterday. The warning came as Singapore suggested it might impose restrictions on an agreement with the IMF and the World Bank to allow demonstrations during their meetings in September.
As part of a policy of constructive engagement, the World Bank and IMF have allowed non-governmental organisations to hold rallies at annual meetings as long as the groups are accredited by the two organisations.
But Wong Kan Seng, the home affairs minister and deputy prime minister, said Singapore reserved the right to vet further the accredited group to determine "the potential impact on law and order as well as the suitability of the proposed [rally] location" before a police permit would be issued. Violent protesters would face the threat of caning and imprisonment, as prescribed under Singapore law, he said. Singapore acceded to the request by the IMF and World Bank allowing demonstrations to gain the right to host what is expected to be the biggest meeting in the city-state's history. Demonstrations are normally banned in Singapore, where outdoor political gatherings of four or more persons are illegal without a police permit. The last police licence for a demonstration was issued in the late 1980s to the state-affiliated trade union movement, which rallied outside the US embassy to protest against alleged interference in Singapore's affairs.
Chee Soon Juan, head of the opposition Singapore Democratic party, has suggested that he would use the IMF/World Bank gathering to stage non-violent civil disobedience activities in protest against what he says is government repression. Mr Wong has warned the government will crack down on such protests.