Singapore, June 6 (DPA) Disgruntled Singapore football enthusiasts staged a protest against high TV fees for watching the upcoming World Cup, participants said, in a rare public demonstration in the tightly controlled city-state.
In statements posted on the organiser’s website on social network Facebook, protesters said about 200 fans of the game gathered Saturday at Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park, a venue for public protest, created in response to criticism that Singapore’s strict laws were not giving enough space to public debate.
The protest organisers had earlier started a campaign on Facebook calling for a boycott of Singapore’s two TV broadcasters after the companies announced that the price for watching the 2010 World Cup would increase seven-fold since the most recent tournament 2006.
Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and StarHub charge a minimum of 70.62 Singapore dollars (50.22 US dollars) TV fees.
The companies justified their price policy, saying they were not profiteering from the World Cup, but just hoping to break even.
At the rally, protesters showed red cards reading, ‘You’re Off! SingTel, Starhub,’ imitating the cards referees use for sending players off the pitch.
Some participants expressed disappointment ‘that there were not more people,’ but said it was important that ‘we made our point.’
Currently, the boycott group counts more than 27,500 members, according to its website.