City-state turns 51 amid tight se­cu­rity

The Myanmar Times - - World -

SIN­GA­PORE cel­e­brated its 51st an­niver­sary on Au­gust 9 as a repub­lic with a heav­ily guarded pa­rade af­ter the dis­cov­ery of an In­done­sian ex­trem­ist plot to at­tack the city-state.

The area around the Na­tional Sta­dium, where the mil­i­tary-civil­ian cel­e­bra­tion took place, was des­ig­nated a special zone where po­lice had stop and search pow­ers. The navy and coast­guard con­ducted ad­di­tional checks on ves­sels out at sea.

Air de­fences were also in place, lo­cal daily The Straits Times re­ported.

Sin­ga­pore has been on height­ened alert since In­done­sian po­lice ar­rested six sus­pected mil­i­tants last week in nearby Batam is­land over an al­leged plot to fire rock­ets into Sin­ga­pore.

The wealthy South­east Asian is­land na­tion, a strong mil­i­tary and eco­nomic part­ner of the United States, con­sid­ers it­self a prime tar­get for ter­ror­ist at­tack.

The al­leged leader of the Batam group is ac­cused of plan­ning the at­tack with a lead­ing In­done­sian mil­i­tant who is now be­lieved to be fight­ing with the Is­lamic State in Syria.

In a pre-recorded broad­cast for Na­tional Day, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong re­peated warn­ings of a po­ten­tial at­tack on Sin­ga­pore and called for na­tional unity in case it hap­pens.

“If a ter­ror­ist at­tack were to oc­cur here, will we stand to­gether, or will we fall apart?” he told his mul­tira­cial na­tion.

The pa­rade at the packed 55,000-ca­pac­ity sta­dium kicked off with a mil­i­tary drill be­fore a fes­tive show fea­tur­ing some 5000 marchers and per­form­ers from all walks of life.

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