SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A protest action by a group of Singaporeans with Japanese anime figurines such as the 5-inch tall Ultramen, robots and monsters with placards met some real-life police in the city-state.
A handful of fans of Japanese anime had turned up at a Singapore public park on August 25 with armfuls of the toys to protest against a clampdown on Internet downloading of anime material by Singapore animation distributor Odex.
The incident was not reported in the local press, but pictures and accounts have started circulating on many blogs and political Web sites.
"The police didn't stop us from what we wanted to do. But their being there was enough to intimidate," the event's organiser -- who only wanted to be known by his online moniker Zer0 -- told Reuters by telephone.
He added that police -- who had four anti-riot vans at the scene -- also took down the anime fans' particulars and that they were filmed by plainclothes policemen. A police spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment.
Public protests are rare in Singapore, where outdoor demonstrations are banned and any public gathering of more than four people requires a permit.
The report led me to think of the possible backlashes which may follow, due to this sudden exposure. Even local blogger Mr. Brown has followed up on the news. But naturally, the focus on the readers would be why would 4 anti-riot vans be activated, and not on the illegal downloads or on the Odex lawsuits. With the shift of focus, I'm not too sure if this was what was intially intended. The original intention of the PAFP was to make a statement against what Odex was doing, and not to challenge the law. I'm hoping that people will remember that, and see the real reason why the figures were gathered. For more details and the full story on the event, you can check out Zero's blog entry, or Otakurean. I'll try and keep track of the news reports, and see how the public reacts to the news through various forums too.
"Life is a long path to a goal. Drop your heavy luggage and enjoy walking with your hands empty."
Tendou Souji, Kamen Rider Kabuto