Police investigating duo for taking part in public assemblies without permits

The man and woman are being investigated over separate incidents on 20 March and 13 March, respectively. (PHOTOS: Facebook / Jolovan Wham)

SINGAPORE — An 18-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, both Singaporeans, are being investigated by the police for allegedly taking part in separate public assemblies without permits.

The woman had held up various placards with the phrases “PLANET OVER PROFIT”, “SCHOOL STRIKE 4 CLIMATE” and “ExxonMobil KILLS KITTENS&PUPPIES” outside of HarbourFront Tower One on 13 March, said the police in a statement on Wednesday (1 April).

While investigating this incident, the police found that the man had held up a placard with the words “SG IS BETTER THAN OIL @fridays4futuresg” in front of the Toa Payoh Central Community Club and Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Centre on 22 March.

“Both of them did not apply for the necessary Police permit before carrying out their activities. Investigations are ongoing,” said the police, adding that electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops were seized in relation to the case.

Yahoo News Singapore found pictures of the man and the woman carrying placards posted on Facebook.

A check on the Instagram page of Fridays For Future Singapore – the group alluded to in the man’s placard – found a single post from 24 May last year. In its caption, the writer complains of the difficulty of starting a school strike movement for climate change in Singapore due to the country’s “strict laws and regulations”.

The Fridays for Future is an international movement that sees students skipping school or classes on Fridays to take part in climate change demonstrations or awareness-raising activities. The movement was sparked off following Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg’s protest outside her country’s Parliament building in August 2018.

“The Police would like to remind the public that organising or participating in a public assembly without a Police permit in Singapore is illegal and constitutes an offence under the Public Order Act,” said the police.

“The Speakers’ Corner 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.”

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