ended a three-day protest against the government on Tuesday,
saying they had highlighted restrictions on freedom of speech and
assembly as Singapore hosts the annual meetings of the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Singaporean activists, who have numbered between six and 10, had
camped out at a downtown park since Saturday, in defiance of laws
that ban outdoor gatherings of more than four people without a
police permit. Public protests are rare in Singapore.
had prevented them from marching to Parliament and the convention
center where the IMF and World Bank were holding meetings. On
Tuesday, the small group twice started to march in the direction
of Parliament House, but were blocked by a row of police
world now knows the extent of the repression in Singapore, and
hopefully this will translate into pressure on the Singapore
government to reform the system," said protest leader Chee
Soon Juan, head of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party.
"Our movement, our campaign for democracy, will grow and
gain momentum and strength."
says its political system has democratic features, including
elections, but that it does not seek a freewheeling,
Western-style democracy that could foment tension and even chaos.
Authorities tightly restrict speech and assembly, saying such
controls provide the stability that has helped turn Singapore
into a global economic powerhouse.
host of the IMF-World Bank meetings, Singapore has sought to
showcase itself to thousands of international visitors as a model
of clean and efficient governance with a prosperous, open
protest drew less local and international attention than
Singapore's decision last week to bar two dozen foreign activists
from entering the country to attend the meetings even though they
were accredited. Singapore later reversed the decision after
criticism from the IMF and the World Bank.
end of Chee's protest coincided with a speech by Prime Minister
Lee Hsien Loong at the IMF and World Bank meetings. Lee said
carefully managed globalization can improve the lives of the
world's population, and that good governance and effective
multilateral institutions were vital to its welfare.
SingaporeTuesday, 19 September 2006SingaporeDemocratsPrint