Singapore charges 24 over Little India riot

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Rocks were thrown at police and cars were set alight

Police in Singapore have charged 24 Indian nationals with rioting after violent protests on Sunday night over the death of a migrant worker.

Police cars and other vehicles were set alight during the unrest in Little India. It was Singapore's first riot in more than 30 years, police said.

The hour-long disturbance broke out after an Indian migrant worker was knocked down and killed by a bus.

If convicted, the accused could face seven years in prison and caning.

They were remanded in custody for a week after appearing in court, where an interpreter read the charges to them in Tamil.

Four other men arrested in connection with the riot have been released. The bus driver, a 55-year-old Singaporean, faces charges of causing death by negligence, AFP news agency reports.

The government has ordered a special committee to investigate the causes of the riot, in which about 400 foreign workers took to the streets.

About 40 people were hurt, most of them police officers, before the violence was brought under control. Some 25 vehicles, 16 of them police cars, were damaged or burnt.

Singapore depends heavily on foreign workers, with migrant labourers from South Asia dominating sectors like construction.

Most are young men who come from India and Bangladesh, and live in dormitories while they work and send money home.