Singapore says may relax rules on protests

Singapore may allow public protests at one of the city-state’s parks, a government minister said, in a relaxation of its strict rules on demonstrations.

Wong Kan Seng, the minister for home affairs, told members of parliament on Thursday that he was looking to liberalise the use of Hong Lim Park — Singapore’s version of speakers’ corner.

Currently those who want to speak at the park are required to register at a nearby police station. Singapore bans public speeches unless the speaker is licensed by a government official.

“We are presently reviewing how we can further liberalise the use of Speakers’ Corner as an outdoor venue for more political activities including demonstrations,” Wong said, according to a transcript of his speech posted on a government Web site.

Singapore defends its use of legislation to regulate protests and free speech as a necessity given the country’s multiracial make up.…

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