Singapore to toughen protest laws ahead of APEC meet

SINGAPORE Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:58pm IST

Related Topics

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore will toughen its protest laws ahead of this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to reduce the number of civil disobedience acts, state media reported on Saturday.

Wong Kan Seng, Singapore's interior minister, told the pro-government Straits Times newspaper the city-state will look to enact regulations in the coming months giving police greater power to prevent protesters from gathering.

Singapore will host an APEC ministerial meeting in July and the annual summit in mid-November.

It hopes to avoid a controversy like the one in 2006 when an opposition politician was prevented from holding a march during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings, resulting in a long standoff with police and criticism from the meeting organisers.

APEC's 21 members include the United States, China and Japan.

"For cause-related or ideologically-related activities, including those pertaining to race and religion, we should address them squarely as higher risk," Wong told the newspaper.

"We must empower the police to deal with public-order problems more effectively, especially when mega-events are held," he said.

Protests in tightly-controlled Singapore were only made legal last year in a designated zone, "Speakers' Corner", modelled after the one in London's Hyde park.

Any public gathering of five or more people is illegal in Singapore without a police permit.

Singapore defends the need for tough protest laws, citing concerns over public safety and order. But several international human right groups such as Amnesty International have said Singapore uses these laws to stifle dissent.

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Republic Day

Reuters Showcase

Australian Open

Australian Open

Serena avenges French Open loss to reach quarter-finals.  Full Article 

Miss Universe

Miss Universe

Miss Colombia is crowned Miss Universe for 2015.  Full Article 

SAG Awards

SAG Awards

'Birdman' wins top honor from actors in march toward Oscars.  Full Article 

Banking Revolution

Banking Revolution

India turns to corner shops, mobile phones for banking revolution.  Full Article 

Climate Change

Climate Change

U.S.-China climate deal does not put pressure on India, says Modi  Full Article 

Bangladesh Politics

Bangladesh Politics

Bangladesh charges opposition chief with instigating attack on bus  Full Article 

Box Office

Box Office

Eastwood's "American Sniper" continues as U.S. box office juggernaut   Full Article 

Boko Haram Fight

Boko Haram Fight

Nigeria repels suspected Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri city  Full Article 

Akshay Kumar's Latest

Akshay Kumar's Latest

"Baby" is a smartly written, well-acted film  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage