SlutWalkers hold rare rally in Singapore

SINGAPORE, December  4, 2011 (AFP) - Supporters of the global SlutWalk movement against sexual violence held a rally Sunday in Singapore, attracting dozens to a rare protest in the strictly policed city-state.

The event was restricted to a free-speech park called Speakers' Corner in line with strict laws on street demonstrations, but supporters came undeterred by rain to hear speeches and songs and watch a "muay thai" martial arts show.

"I need to stand up and support what I believe in," Singaporean writer Vanessa Liew, 25, told AFP at the rally.

None of the mostly female crowd sported the revealing clothing worn at other SlutWalks around the world, though some did wear skirts above the knee.

Others wore T-shirts protesting against blaming rape victims on the grounds of their outfits or because they had been drunk or flirting.

Police had approved a permit for the Singapore rally, which they said was necessary because of the global nature of the movement and the expected presence of foreigners, although organisers said no permit should be needed.

SlutWalks have been held in dozens of cities around the world, including Toronto, Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand, New Delhi, Philadelphia, Seoul, Sydney, Washington, Paris and Berlin.

The SlutWalk phenomenon began in Toronto in April when hundreds of women and men took to the Canadian city's streets for a march to protest a police constable's comment that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized".

Protests are rare in Singapore and one of the organisers told an AFP reporter those present should be called "attendees" rather than "protesters".