Tessa Wong – Straits Times Indonesia
Singapore’s police are warning the public against taking part in a protest due to be held in Raffles Place on Saturday as it will be unlawful.
The event, called Occupy Raffles Place, appears to be inspired by the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests taking place in New York, in the United States.
In a statement responding to media queries, the police said they had received reports that a netizen is “instigating the public to stage a protest gathering” in Raffles Place on Saturday, in support of a similar protest in New York.
“Police urge members of the public not to be misled and participate in an unlawful activity,” said the statement.
It also pointed out that under Singapore laws, citizens are free to hold demonstrations without applying for permits if these are held at Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park and do not touch on matters relating to race and religion.
Demonstrations held elsewhere outdoors require permits.
The Occupy Raffles Place event was first publicized on Oct 2 on Facebook.
Its organizers said it will be a peaceful protest to “demand accountability and change”.
Echoing rhetoric used by the Wall Street protesters, the anonymous Singapore organizers said the “wealth of 99 percent” of Singaporeans is in the hands of “1 percent”, Temasek Holdings and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.
They asked supporters to gather in the central square outside Raffles Place MRT station and to march towards the SGX Centre.
The timing of the event is apparently not random. An Internet-based movement called Oct 15 – United for #GlobalChange is attempting to coordinate protests around the world on that day.
The Singapore event has caught the attention of a popular local satirist, blogger mrbrown, who wrote on his blog this week: “If Singapore had an Occupy Wall Street protest in Raffles Place, we’d probably do it with tissue packets and come back later. Or we’d send our maids to queue for us first.”
Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia. To subscribe to Straits Times Indonesia and/or the Jakarta Globe call 021 2553 5055.