Australia: Baton Relay Run Against the Death Penalty

Posted by under Breaking News on 18 March 2006

Peter Norden carried the baton past the home and church of Nguyen Tuong Van, who was executed last year by Singapore. Singapore pulls out broadcaster from the Commonwealth Games.

Shame Singapore Shame

Protesters take part in Queen's baton relay

A Queen's baton relay runner has campaigned against the practice of capital punishment in Commonwealth countries.

Father Peter Norden was supported by a group of silent protesters as he ran through inner-city Melbourne this afternoon.

The protesters held red placards with the words "Shame Singapore Shame" as Father Norden went past.

Father Norden, who campaigned against Singapore's hanging of convicted drug trafficker Van Nyugen last year, has rejected criticism of the protest.

He says the Commonwealth Games baton relay is an appropriate place to champion his cause.

"Thirty-five of the 37 Commonwealth countries that have capital punishment still put a noose around people's necks," he said.

"We don't believe that in a civilised society that this practice should continue."

He has compared the protest to the Queen's campaign against AIDS and says the Commonwealth Games is an appropriate place to raise the issue.

But Commonwealth Games Minister Justin Madden says the baton relay is not the appropriate event to champion other causes.

"If anyone individual purports to use it for any other message that's disappointing," he said.

"But we still maintain that the baton is about the goodwill of the Commonwealth, the Queen's message and the opportunity for those unsung heroes to carry the baton."

Sources and Relevant Links:

ABC News Shame Singapore Shame Protesters take part in Queen's baton relay

ABC Asia Pacific TV / Radio Is this round three or four? Ding-Ding!

The decision by Singapore's national broadcaster to pull out of its Commonwealth Games coverage has angered Games officials, who say the move will leave the exploits of the country's athletes unreported.

CNA Commonwealth Games to be telecast on MediaCorp TV from Mar 18
17 March 2006

The Age Aussie disrupts Queen's Singapore visit
17 March 2006

An Australian animal rights activist in a bear suit disrupted a Singapore visit by the Queen to protest against the bearskin hats worn by the soldiers who guard Buckingham Palace. Jodi Ruckley, 33, from Sydney, was led to a police van after brandishing a placard saying "God save the bears". She was released later without charges. Her bear suit was also returned. Protests are banned in tightly-governed Singapore unless organisers obtain a police permit in advance.

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