Police investigating protest banner incident at Gardens by the Bay

Police investigating protest banner incident at Gardens by the Bay
The three protestors had carried out the demonstration in solidarity with a coordinated global protest.
PHOTO: Instagram/Singapore for Palestine

SINGAPORE - The police are investigating an incident where a banner was displayed at Gardens by the Bay calling for an end to Singapore's arms trade with Israel.

In a video clip circulated on several Instagram accounts, three individuals can be seen standing on the OCBC Skyway and unfurling a banner that said: "End SG - Israel arms trade". Singaporean adults need to pay $10 to enter the OCBC Skyway, while a ticket for foreigners costs $14.

The incident took place on the evening of April 15, according to a statement issued by the protesters. The identities and nationalities of the three protesters remain unclear.

In response to queries, the police said on April 16 that reports had been lodged, while a spokesman for Gardens by the Bay said it is aware of the incident and a police report has been filed. However, the spokesman said he could not comment further as police investigations are ongoing.

In a statement issued on April 15, the protesters said their actions were "in solidarity with... a global economic blockade across 50 cities to disrupt the global economy's indifference to the human rights abuses happening right before our eyes".

Although Singapore was part of efforts at the United Nations to broker a ceasefire in Gaza and provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, it would all mean nothing if Singapore "continues to enable the violence", the statement added.

It also touched on how Singapore's purchases of weapons from Israel have funded its Gaza war efforts, and how weapons jointly developed by the two countries are now being used in the war.

The statement also referred to Singapore's upcoming leadership transition.

On April 15, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled the timeline for Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong to succeed him as Singapore's next prime minister on May 15.

The statement referred to a video message on social media that DPM Wong posted after the announcement.

It said: "In a video statement, he has promised Singaporeans that 'your dreams will inspire my actions, your concerns will guide my decisions'.

"We act today to send an unequivocal message about the dreams and concerns of Singaporeans - we do not want our nation to contribute financially to the infliction of suffering of innocent men, women, and children."


The statement added that Singaporeans have made several efforts to raise concerns about the crisis in Gaza by writing letters to ministers, online petitions and social media campaigns, among others, but all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.

It said: "We have no choice but to escalate our efforts to draw attention to our urgent demands. You cannot ignore us now.

"We act today because we believe that, to exist in this world, we must care bravely, safeguard rights fiercely and act tirelessly to end all oppression. We are not free until we are all free. We are not free until Palestine is free."

On April 15, activists around the world launched coordinated protests in more than 40 cities after the group A15 Action called for a day-long multi-city economic blockade in solidarity with Palestine.

The A15 Action website - which carried information about the protests, and also included legal resources and regional contacts - said the aim was to "disrupt and blockade economic logistical hubs and the flow of capital".

Demonstrators took to the streets in several cities on April 15 and had even blocked San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, causing traffic to halt for hours.

Closer to home, the group's social media accounts showed that individuals in Vietnam were pasting stickers on various products at supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City, and decrying them as products that support genocide.

In Australia, demonstrators showed up at Foreign Minister Penny Wong's office in Adelaide, where they simulated their deaths in what is called a "die-in", and held up signs calling for Australia to stop arming Israel.

At least 33,634 Palestinians have been killed up until April 12 after Israel launched attacks in response to an incursion by Hamas on Oct 7, in which about 1,200 people were killed and 253 taken hostage.

Correction note: In an earlier version of the story, it was reported that three people are being investigated by the police. This is incorrect. It should be that the police are investigating the incident. We are sorry for the error.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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