Global Policy Forum

World Bank-International Monetary Fund Protests: Singapore, September 19-20, 2006



Credit: Associated Press/Tatan Syuflana

Protesters at the 2006 annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank did not have as much freedom to voice their disapproval of these institutions as they did at past meetings. The Singaporean government, known for its tough stance against public gatherings, banned street demonstrations and designated a small tightly-secured area for indoor protests. Protesters condemned the government's restrictions, but also criticized the IMF and World Bank for not doing enough to involve NGOs.


NGOs Boycott World Bank Meetings (September 14, 2006)

In a show of solidarity with fellow activists barred from entering Singapore, over 80 NGOs have decided to boycott the official IMF-World Bank annual meetings. Despite World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz's criticism of the ban, the groups lay most of the blame on the financial institutions. NGO representatives charge that the IMF and the World Bank chose Singapore as the venue for the 2006 meetings fully aware of the host government's restrictive laws against public gatherings. The ban on protests robs NGOs of a powerful tool for opposing policies that will arise at the meetings. (Guardian)

IMF-WB Exposed by Ban on NGOs at Singapore Meet (September 9, 2006)

Under alleged pressure from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Indonesian police have banned grassroots and international NGOs from participating in the International People's Forum, a conference held parallel to the annual meeting of the financial institutions. Authorities cite security concerns for the ban, after local groups with close ties to business reportedly "expressed fears that the [Forum] will undermine investments on their island." While criticizing regional governments for putting "business interests" ahead of development, NGO representatives perceive the restriction as a way for the IMF and World Bank to silence their loudest critics. (Inter Press Service)


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