SINGAPORE: The Singapore Police Force (SPF) is investigating possible offences at two separate events related to the Israel-Hamas war, including a public gathering along Orchard Road.
Both events took place on Feb 2.
A group of about 70 people had assembled along Orchard Road at about 2pm and marched towards the Istana, carrying umbrellas with watermelon images in support of the Palestinian cause.
They may have committed an offence for organising a public assembly without a permit, said the police in a media release on Tuesday (Feb 13), noting that the Istana is a particularly security-sensitive area designated as a Prohibited Area.
“Furthermore, their actions advocate the political causes of other countries and have the potential to stir up tensions and lead to public disorder,” said SPF, adding that several police reports were lodged by members of the public.
According to social media posts, participants of the Letters for Palestine event walked from Plaza Singapura to the Istana to deliver letters addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The second case that police are investigating involves an online video of a private event “where a subject was seen live streaming publicly and chanting ‘from the river to the sea'”. Others were seen chanting “Palestine will be free” in response.
The phrase “from the river to the sea” is associated with calls for the destruction of Israel, SPF noted, adding that the use of such slogans can lead to racial tensions in Singapore and may be an offence.
WARNING AGAINST CALLS TO PROTEST AT SINGAPORE AIRSHOW
The investigations come amid heightened global tensions as the Israel-Hamas war drags on.
Singapore police also said they are aware of calls to protest against Israel at the Singapore Airshow, such as gathering for a sit-in and pasting stickers related to the conflict.
The Singapore Airshow, to be held from Feb 20 to Feb 25, features displays by international aerospace and defence companies, including those from Israel.
Police warned that organising or participating in a public assembly or procession without a permit is illegal.
Affixing posters, placards or other documents including stickers on any properties without permission also constitutes an offence.
In a Facebook post, Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said that the police’s advisory “is not meant to prevent anyone from expressing their concerns, or even their strong views on this issue”.
“But there are ways of doing so that do not break our laws or cause a deep rift in our society,” she added.
“Remember, we cannot hope to end conflicts by starting more conflicts of our own. Instead, we can respectfully share our views and contribute to humanitarian relief efforts. Let us continue to care for those affected by the ongoing conflict and in so doing, maintain our own unity.”