Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Singapore: We Will Cane Protesters

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -- Singapore's government said it is prepared to cane or imprison protesters who commit violent crimes during the annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings, to be held in the city-state in September.

The World Bank and IMF expect about 16,000 people to attend their annual meetings, which often attract anti-globalization demonstrations and other protesters.

Tightly controlled Singapore bans public demonstrations or protests, and uses punishments including caning and the death penalty to curb crime.

"The Police would not hesitate to investigate and prosecute any breach of our laws," Wong Kan Seng, Singapore's Minister for Home Affairs, told Parliament on Monday, according to a written answer to questions distributed by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts on Tuesday.

"This is especially so for any person or groups committing violent crimes such as vandalism, arson, and causing hurt which would attract severe punishment, including caning and imprisonment," Wong said.

Singapore attracted worldwide attention in 1994 when an American teenager, Michael Fay, was caned for vandalism.

The city-state is keen to attract more conferences and other big events to boost tourism. The World Bank/IMF meeting is an opportunity for it to show off its modern infrastructure.


This is absurd. How can this country even exist? It denies the most basic of human rights; freedom of expression. While seizing the opportunity to show its modern infrastructure, sods of globalisation, it bares its antiquated darconian claws on people demonstratng to better the lives of other people. At the same time, it shows the invisible leash on all its people.

How can we be pronounced guilty, fighting for our rights?

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