G7 Finance Ministers are meeting in Singapore for the annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund meeting. The situation in Lebanon and the continuing stand off with Iran over its nuclear ambition are the subjects expected to dominate. In addition to discussing the apparent slowdown in the US, the ministers are also likely to look at how China’s economy is performing.
Away from the talks, Singapore’s stringent curbs on its critics have come under intense scrutiny. The IMF and the World Bank have both strongly criticised the government for imposing what they call “authoritarian” restrictions and for refusing to allow all accredited activists into the country.
Opposition groups have also been demonstrating, although they were prevented from marching to the place where the summit is taking place. Opposition leader, Chee Soon Juan, was among the protestors. “We are citizens of Singapore and we have rights. Only slaves don’t have rights andonly slaves are afraid of the government,” he said. More than 160 pressure groups have declared a boycott of the meetings in response to Singapore’s restrictions.