Function 8 deplores the intimidation and harassment of citizens using Hong Lim Park on Sunday, 13 November 2016 by the Singapore police. Members of the Community Action Network (CAN) and participants at a solidarity event with Bersih 5.0 movement of Malaysia were rounded up and ordered to walk to the Kreta Ayer Police Post without lawful reasons at the conclusion of their peaceful event. They were questioned at length by police officers and had their Singapore flag and mat seized.
We also deplore the harassment and intimidation of one of our members who attended the event. He had left the event before it ended. Four police officers turned up at his flat a few hours later and questioned for about 20 minutes.
We understand that there was an overwhelming presence of plain clothes police officers at the event. They outnumbered the peaceful protesters who were no more than fifteen.
In recent times, the Singapore government has expressed its unhappiness at the use of Hong Lim Park by citizens and foreigners. Hong Lim Park is a public space. It is unreasonable, and even absurd, for the police to expect organisers to ensure that foreigners are excluded from their events.
Singaporeans are already ridiculed internationally for having such a small space to exercise their limited rights to free speech and assembly. To tell the world that Singaporeans are permitted to protest at Hong Lim Park and yet authorise our police to harass and intimidate protesters is to be totally dishonest. We call upon the Ministry of Home Affairs to stop harassing and intimidating our citizens.
14 November 2016