Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Reporter’s IS captors taunted family, asked for €100m ransom

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Dozens arrested after rare Singapore riots

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-09

Singapore's streets were littered with burnt cars on Monday after hundreds of South Asian workers rioted in the island nation's worst unrest in more than 40 years. The riot began after a 33-year-old Indian worker was hit and killed by a private bus.

Burnt cars littered the streets of Singapore on Monday after hundreds of South Asian workers rioted following a fatal road accident in the city-state's Little India district.

The riot – the island nation's worst outbreak of violence in more than 40 years – erupted late Sunday after a 33-year-old Indian worker was hit and killed by a private bus.

Police said about 400 people were involved in the rare outbreak of public disorder and that 27 workers had been arrested on rioting charges, which carry a possible sentence of up to seven years in prison as well as caning.

At least five vehicles, including three police cars, were torched in the violence before the situation was brought under control by police commandos.

"Whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such violent, destructive, and criminal behaviour," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a statement.

"We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law."

'Not the Singapore way'

Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee denounced the violence as "intolerable".

"Rioting, destruction of property – it is not the Singapore way," he told a news conference early on Monday.

The outbreak has tarnished Singapore's long-held reputation for public order.

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

Migrant labour activist Jolovan Wham emphasised that the riot was not "just mindless violence" but that it was difficult to determine what was behind it.

"We should not see this 'riot' as just mindless violence which does not reflect the 'Singapore way', as the commissioner for police says," he said. "We'll need to wait for more information before drawing any firm conclusions."

State-linked broadcaster MediaCorp said it was the first riot in Singapore since racial disturbances in 1969.

Singapore depends heavily on guest workers, with labourers from South Asia dominating sectors like construction. Many congregate in Little India on Sundays to shop, dine and drink.

The incident immediately triggered online attacks on foreign workers in Singapore but officials called for calm.

Retiree Basher Marican, 69, who was returning home as the riot escalated, said the "crowd was clearly drunk".

"They had beer and liquor bottles in their hands and some were throwing them," he said in Tamil.

"It was very unruly. I walked passed a crowd along the restaurants. There were some who were cheering others as they attacked the bus," he said.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2013-12-09

  • SINGAPORE - INDONESIA

    Indonesia battles fires blanketing Singapore with smog

    Read more

  • INDIA

    Indian gang-rape victim dies in Singapore hospital

    Read more

  • SINGAPORE

    Ruling party candidate narrowly elected president

    Read more

COMMENT(S)