Security is always a concern for global trade and economic organizations, however the World Bank has decided that Singapore is a little too secure. Worried about a perception that civic groups are being ignored, the global development bank has petitioned the Singapore government to allow protests at its September meeting.:
The World Bank … has stepped in to assure activists that space for civil society is being negotiated to avoid what some critics of the international financial institutions says will undermine the credibility of the Bank’s claims to promote good governance, accountability, transparency and democracy.
‘’We are working closely with the IMF and with the Singapore Government — and have been for many months — to ensure that diverse civil society voices are very much heard before, during and after the Annual Meetings,'’ writes Peter Stephens of the Bank’s Singapore office in a letter to the non-governmental organisations (NGOs). ‘’We believe that meaningful civil society engagement is critical to the effectiveness of the meetings.'’
The letter also dismisses the argument made by the NGOs that the Bank and the IMF are trying to shut the door on the world’s poor by giving shape to a restrictive process. ‘’Far from being a regulated or restricted process, as you appear to suggest, we are trying to enable a process that is open and led by civil society, and for the issues and means of addressing them to arise spontaneously, not through a formal process that we lead or try to manage,'’ adds Stephens.
But for veteran civil society actors in Singapore, the Bank’s letter appears to be out of touch with the stubborn reality on the ground in the city-state. ‘’It will be nearly impossible to protest in Singapore for locals,'’ Sinapan Samydorai, head of Think Centre, a human rights NGO, told IPS. ‘’Locals trying to express any political opinion in public will require a license. The licenses are often denied to locals.'’
Singapore should have no reason to not permit protests. Its police and public security forces are some of the finest in the world. They have proven themselves very adept at stopping protests before they get out of hand.
The above images are from some of last year’s most impressive actions by the Lion City’s Finest. The arrest of an Australian woman in a bear suit and the that required 40 riot police to disperse.
(Article via Elia Diodati)
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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June 30th, 2006 at 6:37 pm
Well, if I had to guess, if I was put up against the wall and forced to predict whether Singapore would allow protests or not, I would have to say, nope.
It’s not that a woman in a bear suit is bad in and of herself. It’s just that she’s the thin (and hairy) edge of the wedge, if you will, and they take a “zero tolerance” approach. It’s a slippery disciplinary slope from a chick in a bear suit to full fledged race riots (maybe also in bear suits), as the Singapore government knows well. Can you imagine how the site of thousands of rioters in bear suits going after each other with parangs and setting fire to cars would look on CNN?
Singapore would never recover. Yes, they’re taking the most sensible approach, really.