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Media Reply For Events – Letters For Palestine: With Love, From Singapore, Steadfast For Palestine, And The Singapore Airshow 2024

In response to media queries, the Police confirm that they are aware of calls to protest against Israel’s conduct in its conflict with Hamas, such as to gather for a sit-in, and to paste stickers regarding the conflict, at the upcoming Singapore Airshow.

Given the heightened tensions as a result of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Police have assessed that there are public safety and security concerns associated with public assemblies and processions related to the conflict. We have seen numerous incidents of violence related to the conflict in many countries, for instance, an Israeli staff from the Israeli Embassy in Beijing was stabbed in front of a supermarket in October 2023, and a 6-year-old Palestinian-American Chicago resident was stabbed by his landlord in an alleged hate crime in the same month. 

The current peace and harmony we have between the different races and religions in Singapore cannot be taken for granted. We must not let events happening externally affect the internal situation within Singapore. Given the sensitivity of the topic and the volatility of the situation in Gaza, there is a real risk that such assemblies and processions could give rise to public disorder and tensions between the different communities in Singapore. 

The Police would like to remind members of the public that organising or participating in a public assembly or procession without a permit is illegal and is an offence under the Public Order Act 2009. Also, the Police will not grant any permits for public assembly or procession that advocates the political causes of other countries or foreign entities or has the risk of leading to public disorder. The measures in place to regulate public protests have allowed the Government to uphold public order and ensure a peaceful and stable society. We hope that Singaporeans will understand this, and respect this policy and our laws.   

The Police would also like to remind members of the public that the affixing of any posters, placards or other documents including stickers, on any properties, without permission, is an offence under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act 1906.
 
Separately, the Police are investigating into possible offences at two separate events related to the conflict held on 2 February 2024. On 2 February 2024 at about 2pm, a group of about 70 people had assembled along Orchard Road and marched towards the Istana. They carried umbrellas imprinted with watermelon images, a symbol of Palestinian resistance and solidarity, to showcase their support for the Palestinian cause. 

They may have committed an offence under Section 15(1) of the Public Order Act 2009 for organising a public assembly without a permit, because the Istana is a particularly security-sensitive area and is designated as a Prohibited Area under the Public Order (Prohibited Areas) Order 2009. Several Police reports were lodged by the public against this march. Furthermore, their actions advocate the political causes of other countries and have the potential to stir up tensions and lead to public disorder.

The Police have also received reports from the public regarding an online video of a private event that was organised on 2 February at about 7.30pm, where a subject was seen livestreaming publicly and chanting, “From the river to the sea” and others chanting “Palestine will be free” in response. The phrase “From the river to the sea” is associated with calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. The use of such phrases can lead to racial tensions in our society, and may be an offence under Section 298A(a) of the Penal Code 1871. We must also not condone calls for violence.   

Police’s investigations into both events are ongoing.

The Police would like to urge members of the public to engage in responsible and respectful discussions on this topic, online or otherwise, and avoid making insensitive or offensive remarks that advocate the political causes of other countries or foreign entities, and instigating or participating in illegal assemblies and marches. We understand the strong sentiments some Singaporeans have on the conflict, but nevertheless, we should not be engaging in discourse, chanting slogans, or carrying out physical protests and demonstrations that could hurt another ethnic or religious community’s feelings, or which are racially offensive in nature, or which could lead to public disorder and societal tensions. If we do not conduct ourselves in a responsible manner over this conflict, it can very easily destroy the precious racial and religious harmony we have in Singapore.  

The Police take a very serious view of such acts and will take firm action against any person who makes remarks or acts in a manner which could potentially cause ill-will and hostility between different groups in Singapore, or lead to public disorder.

 

 


PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
13 February 2024 @ 8:45 PM
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