Police investigating activist Gilbert Goh for holding up placard outside ICA building

Legal protests currently denied by Govt & Police due to reasons pertaining to COVID measures

Activist Gilbert Goh is currently being investigated by the police for partaking in a public assembly without a permit after holding up a placard outside the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building.

The placard read, “Please ban all flights from India we are not racist! Just being cautious”, referencing the astronomical spike in the number of daily cases in the South Asian nation and the discovery of a highly infectious COVID-19 strain with double mutations originating from the country.

A police spokesman told The Straits Times that it received a report on 1 May notifying that Mr Goh had carried out a public assembly without a permit.

“Mr Gilbert Goh did not have a police permit to carry out the public assembly,” said the spokesman.

On Saturday, Mr Goh who is well-known in Singapore for holding public protests at Hong Lim Park, uploaded a photograph of him holding up the placard.

His post has garnered around 2,300 reactions as of Monday afternoon at 12.47 pm, with the vast majority comprising Likes. The post also attracted 487 comments and 1,400 shares around the same time.

Many commenters supported Mr Goh’s call, agreeing that imposing such a ban is not inherently racist.

They questioned why the Singapore government is not taking the “necessary actions”.

A few pointed out that Australia has already imposed a ban on all travellers arriving from India, including its own citizens and residents.

However several commenters criticised his decision to only call for a ban against those travelling from India.

“No one was holding up signs asking for travel bans from the US. No one was striking a pose with signs rallying against travel from London,” one commenter said.

A couple of other commenters said that flights from other countries with high number of daily COVID-19 cases such as Malaysia should also be banned.

Currently, no assemblies or gatherings at Hong Lim Park are permitted by the government due to the COVID-19 situation.

Police have been rejecting applications for public assembly out of COVID-19 considerations as well, even for a one-man assembly.

Responding to TOC’s query, Mr Goh said that that he has not received any notification from the police about the investigation.

He told TOC that he was only made aware of the investigation through the ST report, adding that he had not been contacted by the publication on the matter.

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