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Police question Singapore Bersih participants

Members of the Community Action Network (CAN) and participants of a solidarity event at Hong Lim Park were questioned by police officers at Kreter Ayer Police Post between 6.20pm to 7.30pm on Sunday. The event, called “The Yellow Sit-In”, was organised in solidarity with Bersih 5.0, a movement of Malaysian citizens and activists, calling for electoral reform and genuine democracy in their country. Participants were rounded up at the conclusion of the event. Prior to and during the event, CAN members had noticed plain clothes police walking around the park and taking pictures of the participants secretly.

According to the questions asked, the police were concerned about the following:

1. Our nationalities

2. The reasons for the event

3. The reasons the attendees were there

4. How the participants knew about the event

5. Whether the organisers took any precautions to prevent foreigners from participating;

6. Whether the foreign attendees were merely observers

7. The use of the Singapore and Malaysia flags during the event.

The police were not specific about why we were brought in for questioning, nor did they cite the legislation granting them powers to seize our items (a Singapore flag and a mat) when we asked them. A CAN member was prohibited from calling his lawyer for advice when he requested it. A participant also had his photo taken in the police station without prior notice from the officer.  It is our view that all persons assisting in investigations should be told of the alleged offence that had taken place and have the right to seek legal advice when necessary.

We would like to thank friends, colleagues and other members of the public who showed their concern when we were questioned by the police. We are also grateful for the support of the foreigners who observed the event.