Breaking News: Burmese nationals throng embassy in S’pore

Developing news story

Latest update:

15.50 hours

A group of six Singapore Special Ops forces were seen moving up the slope of St Martin‘s in full riot gear. A contingent of female police officers were also seen.

15.14 hours

Embassy staff slow voting to a trickle as almost 2500 Burmese throng embassy.

TOC thanks all eyewitnesses for their continued updates from the ground. Pictures and a fuller report will be forthcoming on TOC from our writers on scene.

Around 2500 Burmese nationals are thronging the Burmese embassy to vote in a referendum for their new constitution. Many were wearing red t-shirts and caps that said NO, in opposition to the referendum.

Embassy staff are allowing only two to three persons a time into the embassy to vote every five to ten minutes, in what Burmese democracy activists see as a blatant attempt to make voting impracticably slow.

The queue to participate in the referendum is snaking down from the embassy all the way to Orchard Rd, opposite Tanglin Place.

Mr Marc Myo Myint, a member of the Overseas Burmese Patriots activist group told TOC: “They (the embassy staff) are deliberately obstructing the right of our people to vote. They have a responsibility to accommodate everyone to participate in the referendum”.

According to Mr Myo, the embassy staff demanded that the Burmese strip off their red shirts and caps. TOC is seeking clarification from sources on the ground as to whether any Burmese nationals were actually prevented from voting for not complying.

The bottleneck was induced by embassy officials around one pm, as large numbers of Burmese began turning up in the red t-shirts and caps. Before that, more people were allowed into the embassy, at the rate of four to five persons every five minutes.

Burmese monks have arrived at the scene to tell the crowds to keep calm.

The constitution, drawn up by the military junta, is seen by many Burmese as a bald attempt by the junta to cement its grip on power. It disqualifies opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from holding key political positions as she is married to a foreigner. Miss Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won an election in a landslide in 1990.