July 17, 2022

Speakers’ Corner protest in Singapore against Rajapaksa draws audience of one

By brit

SINGAPORE – A last-minute protest at Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park on Saturday (July 16) against Singapore’s decision to let ousted Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa into the country drew an audience of one.

Organiser Prabu Ramachandran, 34, a former candidate for Peoples Voice (PV) at the 2020 General Election, said: “Hardly anyone is speaking about this.

“I thought that someone ought to speak about this, about the message that we are sending to the rest of the world and the international community by having Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa here.

“He is unwanted. He is a politically exposed person. Unlike what has been said, he is not just another Sri Lankan with a passport. Why are we taking him in?”

Mr Prabu, who works in finance, announced the protest, titled Deport Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on Facebook on Friday morning.

Slated to initially last from 4pm to 6pm, he ended it early at 4.48pm because of the low turnout.

He also live-streamed the protest on Facebook, and about 20 people watched it live.

The only other speaker at the protest was blogger Leong Sze Hian, 68, also a former PV candidate.

He questioned why Mr Rajapaksa chose to resign only in Singapore. He and Mr Prabu also asked for details of Mr Rajapaksa’s bank accounts here to be made public.

Speakers’ Corner is the only place in Singapore where protests can legally be held without a permit.

Developments in Sri Lanka have seen protests against Mr Rajapaksa in the country as well as the Maldives and globally.

Shortly after he arrived in Singapore on Thursday (July 14), the police reminded any would-be demonstrators about the consequences of breaking the law.

“Police ask that the public, Singaporeans, residents, work pass holders and social visitors alike, abide by our local laws,” they said. “Action will be taken against anyone participating in a public assembly that is illegal,” they added.