Police in Singapore warn against Myanmar coup protests


SINGAPORE, Feb 7 (dpa): Singaporean police has warned against the staging of protests against the recent military coup in Myanmar and threatened that participants could be thrown out of the country.

In a statement, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said it was aware of "online posts by Myanmar nationals working or residing in Singapore, planning protests in Singapore in relation to recent developments in Myanmar."

"Those who break the law will be dealt with firmly, and this may include termination of visas or work passes," the police statement read.

The SPF warned that "foreigners visiting, working or living in Singapore are also reminded to abide by our laws" and cautioned that migrants "should not import the politics of their own countries into Singapore."

The SPF said that "organizing or participating in a public assembly without a police permit in Singapore is illegal."

Protests or public shows of dissent are rare in Singapore, where the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has won by a landslide in every election held since independence in 1965.

Wealthy Singapore hosts tens of thousands of migrants from Myanmar, some of whom fled to the city-state as long ago the late 1980s, when the country then known as Burma was riven by student-led protests that were met with a violent army crackdown.

Others fled in the wake of the 2007 "Saffron Revolution," when weeks of protests led by Buddhist monks were forcibly broken up by the army.

Many others have been drawn to Singapore by the prospect of work in construction, shipping, domestic service and restaurants.

Singapore's gross domestic product per capita was the world's ninth-highest in 2019, at over 65,000 dollars, according to World Bank rankings. GDP per capita in Myanmar, which is rich in natural resources, stood at just over 1,500 dollars.

Disparities in wealth and job opportunities have seen millions of Burmese emigrate to more affluent neighbours over the decades since the army seized power in 1962, a regime that lasted until landmark elections in 2015.

In Thailand, which hosts around 3 million Burmese, there have been protests against the coup, which saw Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrested and charged with illegally importing radios.

Hundreds of thousands of Burmese migrants work in Malaysia, which has been put under a second stay-home pandemic lockdown. The government has also imposed a state of emergency, making it less likely that migrants there will protest. - dpa
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