Police are currently investigating two Singaporeans for allegedly participating in a public assembly without a permit, following the circulation of photographs via social media depicting individuals protesting against climate change recently.
Police said on Wed (1 Apr) that they had received reports on a Facebook post containing photographs from 13 Mar, in which an 18-year-old woman could be seen holding placards with the words “PLANET OVER PROFIT”, “SCHOOL STRIKE 4 CLIMATE” and “ExxonMobil KILLS KITTENS&PUPPIES” against the Harbourfront Tower One building signage.
Following investigations into the above matter, police said that it had also identified a separate event that took place on the same date.
In the aforementioned incident, a 20-year-old man had reportedly held a placard with the words “SG IS BETTER THAN OIL @fridays4futuresg” in front of Toa Payoh Central Community Club and Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Centre.
The photo of the man was uploaded onto the @fridays4futuresg Instagram page, which — according to the caption — is a youth movement calling for “more ambitious climate policies to meet net-zero emissions by 2050 and secure a liveable future”.
Both individuals, said the police, “did not apply for the necessary police permit before carrying out their activities”.
Holding or taking part in a public assembly in the absence of a permit is classified as an offence under the Public Order Act.
Police said that the Speakers’ Corner at Hong Lim Park “is the proper avenue for Singaporeans to express their views on issues that concern them, and to allow Singaporeans to conduct public assemblies without the need for a permit, subject to certain conditions being met”.
Police noted that its officers have seized electronic devices such as laptops and mobile phones in relation to the above case.
Over two thousand Singaporeans and permanent residents gathered at Hong Lim Park last Sep for the inaugural SG Climate Rally – Singapore’s first climate rally.
Founder of environmental advocacy group LepakinSG, Ho Xiang Tian, argued that Singapore’s climate policies thus far have been glaringly insufficient and said that state messaging has failed to recognise Singapore’s responsibility for mitigating climate change.
“Singapore only takes responsibility for 0.11% of the world’s emissions, and that is always the reason cited for our lack of climate action … But we ignore the fact that we are the world’s fifth-largest refinery export hub, or that the fuel we provide to ships and planes emit almost 3 times of our own national emissions,” he said.
“It makes no sense to me that we are told to switch off our lights when [they are] not in use, but the lights on Jurong Island never seem to be switched off,” said Mr Ho.