SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore has banned all outdoor protest at a summit of Southeast Asian nations and rejected an opposition party's request to stage a Myanmar pro-democracy protest, police and activists said on Saturday.
Leaders of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) are set to sign a common charter that would turn the 40-year-old group into a legal entity. Myanmar prime minister Thein Sein is expected to come, which would mark the first appearance of a top junta member at an international forum since the regime's bloody crackdown on protesters in September.
About 2,500 police have been mobilized for the event and roadblocks have been set up in streets around the venue, where ASEAN will meet other Asian leaders, including Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao and Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
The opposition Singapore Democratic Party said on its Web site the government had rejected its application for a protest to "call on ASEAN member states to take concrete measures to promote democracy in the region rather than just make empty promises".
"The Charter states that ASEAN would promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people in the region. How does ASEAN intend to do this if its chair bans outright any form of political activity?" the SDP said.
Singapore and other ASEAN members have said that keeping Myanmar inside ASEAN offers better chances of putting the country on the road to democracy.