28 Jun 2005
Singapore police Tuesday said they would clamp down on any protest designed to disrupt the 2012 Summer Games vote, saying demonstrators could face arrest.
The warning came a week after a British group of small businesses opposed to London hosting the games said they were considering protesting at the Singapore meeting, which begins Sunday, to dissuade the International Olympic Committee from giving the vote to the British capital.
Other cities vying for the Olympics, which could bring up to US$12 billion (Â€10 billion) for the hosts, are New York, Madrid, Paris and Moscow. The decision will be made July 6.
Singapore law dictates that outdoor gatherings of five or more people require a police permit. Public demonstrations are extremely rare in the tightly-controlled city-state. Police usually deny permits, citing “law and order problems.”
“Anyone who organizes or participates in an assembly or procession without a permit is violating the law,” said Aubeck Kam, the police’s operations director, at a briefing about security for the July 2-9 meeting.
Heads of state expected to be in Singapore to support their countries’ bids include British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a slew of celebrities and star athletes are also expected to attend.
People gathered to support a cause would constitute a demonstration, Kam said, adding the police have not received an application from the British group to protest.
Kam also said police would not authorize any application for outdoor marches or assemblies with the potential to “breach public peace.”
More than 2,000 armed police, military and civil defense officers will maintain security at the event, which an estimated 3,500 delegates will attend, Kam said.
All vehicles and persons entering the IOC session at the Raffles City Convention Center will be checked, and concrete barricades will be set up around the building to prevent anyone from ramming a vehicle into it, he said. The British Marshgate Lane Business Group claims they are being offered below-market rate compensation to move in preparation for London’s hosting.