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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 15 March 2008

Unlawful assembly outside Parliament House


Police Statement on unlawful assembly on 15 March 2008
In response to media queries, Police confirmed that it received calls from members of the public at about 2.20 pm on Saturday, 15 Mar 2008 informing that a group of about 20 persons wearing red t-shirts were staging a protest outside the Parliament House.
Upon arrival, police officers observed that Chee Soon Juan was with a group of about 20 persons chanting slogans and displaying various placards. They were all clad in similar red-coloured t-shirts.
Chee and his group ignored repeated Police warnings to stop the unlawful assembly. Instead, Chee and his group persisted with their actions and also began to stage a protest march towards Funan Digitalife Mall waving placards.
The group was given a final warning by Police to stop the protest march or face arrest. Chee and 11 others defied the police warning and were eventually stopped in front of Funan Digitalife Mall and five placards were seized from them. In effecting the arrest, Police faced resistance from some of the members who struggled and locked their arms together. Police equipment including a police radio set was damaged. One of the protesters, Chee Siok Chin had tried to bite a female police officer when the latter tried to arrest her.
Not the first attempt by Chee Soon Juan in acts of wilful civil disobedience
Police note that this episode is the not the first attempt by Chee Soon Juan and other SDP members to stage illegal assemblies as part of their campaign for civil disobedience against the Singapore authorities.
In October last year, Chee had staged an unlawful demonstration at the Istana Park facing the Istana main entrance on 8 Oct 2007. Chee had also staged an unlawful assembly at the Myanmar embassy on 30 Sep 2007 to collect a petition against the Myanmar Government and the Singapore authorities.
This latest incident at Parliament House today saw an escalation in the level of defiance shown by Chee’s group; for the first time, the group staged typical militant protest methods of locking arms to resist arrest practised by some protest groups in Western countries. The attack by Chee Siok Chin is also unprecedented and police are investigating into the matter.
Parliament House is a high security installation. Outdoor protest activities are not allowed given their potential for public disorder and disruption to community life. Chee had earlier applied for a police permit to hold a protest rally but this was an empty gesture as a subsequent posting on SDP's website indicated that SDP intended to proceed with the rally on 15 Mar at 2.00 pm even though a permit was not obtained. The post also urged "all Singaporeans who cannot stomach PAP's bullying anymore to join" the event. Chee’s deliberate actions to break the law and defy the authorities are consistent with his previous unlawful acts, for which he has been charged and convicted in Court.
Chee has persisted to advocate civil disobedience and street politics as the means for political action in Singapore. In so doing, he disregards the law and holds himself above it so long as he thinks the law in question is one he does not approve. Police reiterates that no one is above the law. Our laws apply equally to all, whether local or foreigners and it will apply no less to Chee.

Source: Release 15 Mar 2008

Related Article:
- Chee Soon Juan's demonstration outside Istana

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