Fri, Nov 16, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Singapore to retain demonstration laws for ASEAN summit

AFP , SINGAPORE

Singapore will stick to its tough laws governing public protests when leaders from around the region meet in the city-state next week, police said yesterday.

It is illegal in Singapore to hold a public gathering of five or more people without a police permit, meaning demonstrations are rare.

Beginning on Sunday, Singapore will be hosting the annual ASEAN summit and related meetings.

This year's meetings take place in the shadow of a deadly crackdown on protesters by ASEAN member Myanmar, which sparked worldwide public demonstrations of outrage.

"People that come to Singapore are expected to observe Singapore[an] laws ... just as any other Singaporeans would be expected to do," police director of operations Wong Hong Kuan told reporters.

Asked whether police knew of plans by foreigners to attempt demonstrations, Wong said only that protest attempts have been made in other countries.

At January's ASEAN summit meeting in Cebu, Philippines, riot police skirmished with several hundred demonstrators.

Wong said he understood police have received -- and already rejected -- an application by a local individual to hold an assembly outside the Shangri-La hotel where the summit is to occur.

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