September 20, 2006

Where Frowning upon globalisation can get you arrested

A Singapore activist, Mr Seelan Pillai, has been arrested and held at the Clementi Police Station in Singapore. His arrest and detention is believed to be in connection with Singapore hosting the IMF and World Bank Meeting and was reported by the Singapore Democratic Party on September 13.

IMF/World Bank Meeting in Singapore
A Singapore activist, Mr Seelan Pillai, has been arrested and held at the Clementi Police Station in Singapore. His arrest and detention is believed to be in connection with Singapore hosting the IMF and World Bank Meeting and was reported by the Singapore Democratic Party on September 13.

Where Frowning upon ...

Seelan Pillai is a Do It Yourself (DIY) activist, animal rights campaigner and a Singapore hardcore and punk rock musician. He has also taken part in anti-death penalty campaigns in Singapore.

Seelan Pillai started the 400 frowns campaign as a counter to the Singapore Government 4 million smiles project for greeting delegates to the IMF and World Bank meeting. The 400 frowns campaign website states:

"By September 19th, 2006, there are supposed to be 4 million smiling faces of Singaporeans as part of a mural to welcome the summit of the IMF (International Monetary Foundation) and World Bank. However, there are those among us who would not like to welcome such institutions with smiles - and here is how we can do it!

"400 FROWNS is an independent social art project started by Seelan Palay on the 20th Aug 06. It is a response to the coming meeting of the the IMF and World Bank here, and a platform for Singaporeans to express themselves."

"The project aims to show that not all Singaporeans are oblivious to global issues. It will also become a form of social expression - as a large, combined image of all 400 faces will be put up on the site for those involved to use for any purpose they wish."
400frowns.lioncitydiy.com/
www.thinkcentre.org/article.cfm

The Singapore Democratic Party (the opposition party) has contacted the police who refused to reveal anything more other than to say that Mr Pillai's family had been informed of his arrest.

www.singaporedemocrat.org/articleseelanpillai.html

The activist's arrest comes after the Singapore Government has clampdown down on attempts to organise protests by local and international civil society groups at the IMF / World Bank meeting. Some 27 activists who had been formally invited to attend the meeting by the IMF or World Bank, have been banned by the Singapore Government. Latest news is that Singapore will allow the entry of 22 of 27 activists it objected to earlier, as a result of strong criticism from World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.
www.abc.net.au/ra/news/stories/s1742305.htm

It is believed Seelan Pillai is one of three Singaporeans who have been detained by police and their computers seized, according to a report by Reuters on 14 September.

"Some pamphlets concerning IMF-related issues and some computer hardware have been seized for investigation," police spokesman Mohamed Razif said in the news report. Police are considering charging the men under the Printing and Processing Materials Act, which states that those who possess materials which contain "any incitement to violence or counseling disobedience to the law," may be jailed for up to three years or fined, or both.

All outdoor protests have been banned by the Government. The Singapore Government has banned a rally and march for Singaporeans scheduled on 16 September 2006, although outspoken critics are likely to attempt to march.
targetwto.revolt.org/node/337

An indoor area has been set aside in Suntec City by the Singapore Government where activists can gather to express their views. The area is an eight metre by eight metre square. The area is open for use only between 9am and 6pm. About 30 activists from Global Call to Action Against Poverty Alliance held a protest in the area, wearing gags saying "No Voice" on Friday, while World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz was criticising the Singapore Government for its banning of activists and curtailing the right to protest.


The main protest by civil society groups has been moved by NGOs to the Indonesian island of Batam about 40 minutes journey by ferry south of Singapore, where they are boycotting the IMF/World Bank meeting in protest at the Singapore Government refusal to allow protests to occurr. More than 80 Non Government Organisations have joined the Boycott, according to Friends of the Earth International.
www.foei.org/media/2006/0914.html

More Information:
International People's Forum vs the World Bank and IMF
www.ipf.homeip.net/

Global Call to Action Against Poverty
www.whiteband.org/NewsListing/en

TargetWTO:
targetwto.revolt.org/

2 Comments:

Blogger Seelan Palay said...

Thanks for spreading the word. Seelan from Singapore here.

Sunday, September 02, 2007  
Blogger Alice said...

My pleasure!

Monday, September 03, 2007  

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