The police have allowed a protest march by Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) activists to take place without incident. At 3.10 pm this afternoon, a group of six SDP activists turned up at Singapore’s Speaker’s Corner at Hong Lim Park to commemorate the first anniversary of an abortive protest.
Wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words Democracy Now, the marchers were greeted by a handful of curious onlookers at Hong Lim Park. They then sang the anthem of the American Civil Rights movement, We Shall Overcome before moving off to Parliament House at 3.20 pm. On reaching Parliament House, the marchers recited the National pledge.
Last year’s march was prevented by scores of uniformed police, and resulted in a three day standoff that was covered extensively by the international press. In contrast, this year’s march saw no uniformed police presence, with only around five plainclothes policemen in attendance videotaping the procession.
The marchers intend to walk from Parliament House to Queenstown Remand Prison, where their Secretary-General Dr Chee Soon Juan is being held. He is serving a three-week prison sentence in lieu of paying a fine for attempting to leave Singapore as an undischarged bankrupt.
Two days before the march, police sent letters to the activists involved in last year’s event warning that ‘the same leniency may not be shown’.
Section 5 (4) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act makes it an offence to organize an ‘assembly or procession’ without a police permit.
The Online Citizen will continue to post live updates and pictures from the march.