Singapore on guard for IMF-World Bank meet

Chandi Dharmaratne

SINGAPORE, Sept 8, 2006 (AFP) – Singapore will mount its biggest ever internal security operation and clamp down on all street protests when it hosts a global financial gathering next week. Some 10,000 security personnel are being mobilised to ensure order during the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings, the largest international conference to be staged in this tightly-ruled city-state.

“Many national servicemen have also been called up to support the operation,” said police operations director Senior Assistant Commissioner Aubeck Kam.

Some 16,000 delegates from 184 nations, including finance ministers, central bank governors, corporate chiefs and a few national leaders, will be in town for the IMF-World Bank sessions at the Suntec City convention centre.

Coast guard patrols and immigration checks will be stepped up and helicopters will carry out aerial surveillance. Access to the venue and its surroundings will be strictly controlled.

Police have refused to waive tough laws against public rallies, despite a suggestion by the World Bank to allow outdoor protests for accredited “civil society” organisations pressing for reforms in the world financial syste