(Photo: Transformative Justice Collective)

This past Saturday (18 Feb), over 120 people gathered at an event to pay tribute to the thousands of political detainees victimised by Singapore’s dark history of suppressing dissent.

Activists of three generations commemorated the 60th anniversary of Operation Coldstore, which took place on 2 February 1963 and saw the arrest of hundreds of political leaders, labour activists, and student leaders imprisoned without trial under the Internal Security Act.

The arrests paved the way for the dominance of the People’s Action Party (PAP) as it swept through the general elections in 1963 with a two-thirds majority and a clean sweep in 1968 by winning all seats.

The event was organized by the Transformative Justice Collective (TJC) and featured several speakers, including Dr Poh Soo Kai, former Vice-Secretary General of Barisan Sosialis, who appeared via Zoom.

Attendees, which included detainees from Operation Spectrum, watched photo montages and video clips that documented Singapore’s history of activism and resistance and served as a reminder of the sacrifices that activists of past generations made for democracy and justice.

The event brought together a diverse group of individuals, spanning multiple generations, to commemorate the sacrifices of past activists who fought for democracy and justice.

The speakers ranged in age from 21 to 93, and the attendees participated in singing protest songs and watching videos of student protests and marches. Many members of the Old Left, who had been hesitant to come forward due to years of detention, violence, threats, and slander, saw the event as a reunion of sorts.

According to TJC, the gathering was a “healing and joyful” experience for all attendees.

The members of the Old Left expressed their appreciation for the efforts of younger activists in continuing their fight for a democratic and just Singapore.

The event served as a reminder that the struggle for democracy and justice is an ongoing one, and that the sacrifices of past activists continue to inspire and guide activists today.




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