Tue, Nov 20, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Foreign students protest against junta


International students from the National University of Singapore stage a peaceful vigil walk along a walkway on Orchard Road in Singapore yesterday.


A handful of foreign students demonstrated against Myanmar's junta on the fringes of the ASEAN summit yesterday, drawing close police attention as they tested Singapore's tough protest laws.

Nine activists marched up the Orchard Road shopping strip in groups of three, to avoid arrest under strict rules that say any outdoor gathering of five or more people requires a police permit.

Most carried candles and wore red T-shirts with the slogan "We pursue peace, justice and democracy for Burma."

"We wanted to do something in some small way to show that the world hasn't forgotten," said Pia Muzaffar, a 22-year-old British student at the National University of Singapore. "We want to send a clear message."

Protests are rare in Singapore -- and those by foreigners even more unusual -- but police have designated the meeting venues as "security zones," meaning a single demonstrator can be expelled if deemed to be creating a stir.

The three groups were outnumbered by more than 35 police, some of whom recorded the proceedings on video.

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