Singapore's Burmese Buddhist Temple Closes Door To Activists

by Paul Icamina, AHN, November 23, 2007

Singapore -- The largest Burmese Buddhist temple in Singapore closed its doors Friday to activists who have been using it as a venue and even as a mailing address as they protest human rights violations and call for democracy in Myanmar.

Participants clad in red T-shirts have been holding massive prayer sessions at the temple, distributing pro-democracy leaflets, since the ruling junta in Myanmar cracked down on peaceful protesters in September, the Bangkok Post reported.

"The temple is just a place of worship," The Straits Times quoted the management committee's honorary president David Lim as saying. "Anyone can come here for prayers, but we don't want it used for political activities."

The decision was made after Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo visited the shrine, the most important for the Myanmar community that numbers 30,000 in the city-state.

"The temple should be a place of peace," Lim said, not a domain for "activists shouting slogans."

Singapore banned public protests against the Myanmar delegation that attended this week's summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Any public gathering of more than four people requires a police permit.