Thursday, August 24, 2006

Right on cue a blanket ban citing the usual crap

The Singapore Democratic Party put out a media release on Aug 22, 2006. It says an application has been submitted to the police on Aug 22 for “….a group of Singaporean democracy defenders will conduct public rallies and marches to coincide with the WB-IMF meeting”. You can read the full release by clicking the link I’ve provided in the first sentence. But I would like to post the details of the event itself here….

Event: Empower Singaporeans Rally and March

Dates: 14 to 20 September 2006

Participants: Open to Singaporeans from all walks of life

Objectives: One, to highlight the fact that the Singapore Government denies Singaporeans their freedoms of speech, association, and peaceful assembly. Two, to highlight the plight of poor and working Singaporeans.

Itinerary:

1. Assembly and rally at Speakers’ Corner.
2. Walk along South Bridge Rd to Parliament House.
3. Rally outside Parliament House.
4. Walk along North Bridge Rd, Stamford Rd, Nicoll Highway to Suntec City.
5. Rally outside Suntec City.
6. Walk along Bras Basah Road and Orchard Road to the Istana.
7. Rally outside the Istana and dispersal.
And right on cue on the evening of Aug 23, our pro-government news broadcaster CNA had an “exclusive interview” with the ruling party Minister-in-charge of overseeing the WB-IMF meetings. She was quoted as saying “Under our local rules, we do not allow any outdoor demonstrations or marches. That’s a strict no-no. We have to stand very firm. Because to us, the threat is real” and “We have our own local rules on public order and we do not see any compelling reason to change them simply because we’re hosting the Singapore 2006 or the IMF-World Bank meetings.” What else can one expect a ruling party Minister to say.

So the World Bank and the SDP got their answers.

Given the PAP government’s past record, the SDP would not have gotten the go-ahead for their planned peaceful public rallies and marches. I stress peaceful because I don’t believe the organisers of the events would want anything otherwise since the whole point of it is to allow Singaporeans to participate in the activities and have their real voices heard.

The ruling party must really think we Singaporeans are a bunch of immature maniacs infected with mad cow disease who will go on a rampage or something! Instead of facilitating such events and working together with the organisers to ensure everything goes smoothly, the PAP government opts for the usual baloney by placing a blanket ban on the whole thing.

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