Singapore hit by first riot in decades

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Singapore riot1Hundreds of South Asian workers clashed with police in Singapore after being enraged by a fatal road accident in a rare case of public unrest in the wealthy city-state.

The incident started after a private bus hit and killed a foreign worker in an area known as Little India on December 8. TV footage showed a crowd of people smashing the windscreen of a bus, police cars being flipped over, at least two other vehicles being set on fire, and debris strewn across Race Course Road, one of the main thoroughfares in Little India. About 400 people took to the streets. Police say they will take action against the rioters.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that those responsible for Singapore’s first riot in four decades would face “the full force of the law”.

The riot is likely to fuel concerns about discontent among low-paid foreign workers. In 2012, Singapore saw its biggest outbreak of labour unrest in years when around 170 bus drivers from mainland China went on strike illegally.

Singapore has tough laws on rioting that carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison and possible caning.

Large-scale demonstrations have been almost unknown in the small nation since race riots in 1964 killed 36 people and contributed to the island’s ouster from the federation with Malaysia. Singapore and Malaysia were united from 1963 to 1965. Clashes between the Chinese and Malay communities culminated in race riots in 1969 in Malaysia, which spilled briefly into Singapore. After the violence of the 1960s the Singapore government imposed curbs on public assembly.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hundreds of South Asian workers clashed with police in Singapore after being enraged by a fatal road accident in a rare case of public unrest in the wealthy city-state.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Singapore riot1Hundreds of South Asian workers clashed with police in Singapore after being enraged by a fatal road accident in a rare case of public unrest in the wealthy city-state.

The incident started after a private bus hit and killed a foreign worker in an area known as Little India on December 8. TV footage showed a crowd of people smashing the windscreen of a bus, police cars being flipped over, at least two other vehicles being set on fire, and debris strewn across Race Course Road, one of the main thoroughfares in Little India. About 400 people took to the streets. Police say they will take action against the rioters.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that those responsible for Singapore’s first riot in four decades would face “the full force of the law”.

The riot is likely to fuel concerns about discontent among low-paid foreign workers. In 2012, Singapore saw its biggest outbreak of labour unrest in years when around 170 bus drivers from mainland China went on strike illegally.

Singapore has tough laws on rioting that carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison and possible caning.

Large-scale demonstrations have been almost unknown in the small nation since race riots in 1964 killed 36 people and contributed to the island’s ouster from the federation with Malaysia. Singapore and Malaysia were united from 1963 to 1965. Clashes between the Chinese and Malay communities culminated in race riots in 1969 in Malaysia, which spilled briefly into Singapore. After the violence of the 1960s the Singapore government imposed curbs on public assembly.

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