23 Sep 2005

Absolutely — within the limits of the law

With the World Bank and IMF intending to hold meetings in Singapore the concern is that the protestors who normally accompany such meetings will not be allowed to attend. Mr Lim below states that the demonstrators will not be kept out, so long as they remain...

"Absolutely — within the limits of the law," he told reporters when asked if Singapore would tolerate public protests at the meetings next September.


After the recent quiet peaceful protest of less than the maximum 5 individuals at the CPF headquarters was surrounded by 40 police officers, some in riot gear, Mr Lim appears to be speaking without foundation.

Will only 4 protestors be allowed to demonstrate? Will they have to remain silent? Will they have to be non-Singaporeans? The concern is that foreigners will be allowed to protest, while Singaporeans will be denied the same right.

Mr Raymond Lim, Second Minister for Finance and Foreign Affairs, promised that the demonstrators who traditionally dog the meetings of the international financial organisations would not be kept out. "Absolutely — within the limits of the law," he told reporters when asked if Singapore would tolerate public protests at the meetings next September.


The idea that any country will allow demonstrations from non-citizens and yet break-up peaceful protests by their own citizens could send a very strong message to the people of Singapore. Singapore will host the World Bank nad IMF meetings next September and the eyes of the world will be watching as it stumbles to maintain its image of being an open and tolerant society. The constraints on the right to protest maintained and enforced by the government will need to be re-evaluated.


Sources said it is hoped that prominent Asian heads of government, including leaders from China, India and Japan, will join their finance ministers at the meetings in Singapore to add weight to the regional sales pitch. — AFP WASHINGTON — Neat, tidy and fabulously wealthy Singapore will loosen up for law-abiding protesters when it hosts next year's annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF, a minister said yesterday.


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