Singapore to toughen protest laws ahead of APEC meet
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.
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- In his native Alabama, Apple CEO's announcement he is gay prompts discomfort for some
- Judge rejects strict limits on nurse who treated Ebola patients |
- SEBI piles pressure on Sahara to sell overseas hotels
- China expresses concern about Indian plan to build border posts
- US STOCKS-Dow, S&P 500 end at record highs; BoJ move adds fuel to rally
A suborbital passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company crashed during a test flight on Friday at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, killing one crew member and seriously injuring the other, officials said. Full Article
Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves. Full Article