Just two weeks ahead of the annual IMF/WB meetings in Singapore, the police issued a warning that security forces will not be averse to the use of firearms against protesters who threaten the life or health of others.
Although Article 14 of the Singapore Constitution states the rights of its citizens to assemble peaceably, it also provides for Parliament to impose restrictions in the interest of security. (see below)
In reality, all manner of public protests and demonstrations are banned in Singapore. The last officially-sanctioned public protest was held in 1988 when 4000 members of the State-aligned trade union rallied against alleged American interference in domestic politics.
Last August, a silent protest by four activists in the business district was broken up a team of riot police. The incident was recorded on video.
In 2002, the police aborted a planned rally by two opposition politicians outside the presidential complex by arresting them just as they set foot on the scene. The arrest was also captured on video by filmamker Martyn See in his short video Singapore Rebel.
Despite the police warning, opposition politcian Chee Soon Juan has vowed to stage a public demonstration during the IMF/WB proceedings to highlight the country's growing income gap. His application for a march had been earlier rejected by the authorities.
Meanwhile, NGOs and civil society groups said they are planning mass protests in the Indonesian resort island of Batam, a boat ride from Singapore.Freedom of speech, assembly and association
14. —(1) Subject to clauses (2) and (3) —
(a) every citizen of Singapore has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) all citizens of Singapore have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms; and
(c) all citizens of Singapore have the right to form associations.
(2) Parliament may by law impose —
(a) on the rights conferred by clause (1) (a), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or to provide against contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence;
(b) on the right conferred by clause (1) (b), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof or public order; and
(c) on the right conferred by clause (1) (c), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, public order or morality.
(3) Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by clause (1) (c) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.
31 Aug 2006
Singapore threatens shoot-to-kill measures against violent protesters
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