Police warn public against gathering at Botanic Gardens amid call to protest, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Police warn public against gathering at Botanic Gardens amid call to protest

The police have reminded the public that events related to the Israel-Hamas war, regardless of which side one supports, will not be allowed following online calls for a march at the Singapore Botanic Gardens this weekend.

In response to media queries on Feb 15, they said they were aware of calls on social media to gather at the Singapore Botanic Gardens for a march called “Walk-Out Singapore”, to demonstrate views related to the four-month-old conflict.

“A Police permit is required for such activities,” the police said in their statement. “Organising or participating in a public assembly or procession without one is an offence under the Public Order Act.”

They reiterated their stance from a Feb 13 statement that given the heightened tensions surrounding the conflict, there are public safety and security concerns with assemblies and processions that are organised in relation to the war.

“They could lead to tensions and disharmony in our society, as different communities in Singapore hold different views on the matter,” the police said.

They also said they had contacted the organiser of the Botanic Gardens gathering and told her about their stance on such events.

“We urge Singaporeans to treasure the social harmony we enjoy, and not engage in public demonstrations which may undermine this,” the police said. “Please participate only in appropriately organised and lawful events and discussions, to express our concerns over the conflict.”

On Feb 13, the police said they were looking into possible offences which took place at two events on Feb 2.

The first saw a 70-strong group assemble in Orchard Road and march towards the Istana, said the police. The group carried umbrellas imprinted with watermelon images, a symbol of Palestinian resistance and solidarity, to show their support for the Palestinian cause.

Several reports were lodged against the march, which police said may be considered an offence under the Public Order Act as the Istana is a particularly security-sensitive area and designated prohibited area.

The second incident was a private event that took place later that day. The police said they had received reports regarding a video circulating online from the event, which was live-streamed by a participant.

In the video, the person filming can be seen publicly chanting: “From the river to the sea.” This was met with a response from the others: “Palestine will be free.”

The chant is associated with calls for the destruction of Israel.

The police also urged the public not to participate in other activities related to the conflict, such as a proposed sit-in and pasting stickers at the upcoming Singapore Airshow.