Night Falls as Activists Continue in Confinement

Posted by under Breaking News on 1 May 2002

Earlier in the afternoon, the Singapore police arrested two opposition politicians the gantries of the Istana, the office of the President of Singapore. A further arrest was made on a political activist inside Tanglin Police Division headquarters. Supporters then gathered outside holding placards until the police put a stop to it.

The three men were Dr Chee Soon Juan and Gandhi Ambalam, both of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), and former Fateha CEO Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff. A police spokesperson told press representatives that the three would be detained for 48 hours before being released on bail.

Meanwhile, SDP supporters held placards with the words "Where's Chee?" and "What's the Charge?" As evening arrived, they stood firm at the gates of the police station, occasionally in discussion with relatives of the two SDP men at the iron fencing, the only means to communicate. Apart from Chee's mother, wife, sister and toddler daughter, the wife and daughter of Gandhi were also there in vigil of further news.

"" returned to the scene at about 9.30 pm to see SDP supporters there, and learnt that the police premises, which had become "private property" according to the words of Inspector Selvakumar of Tanglin Police Division, will be out-of-bounds to members of the public only on this particular day. However, people were still seen walking in as police realised they cannot keep out those who came with purposes such as filing police reports. By then, the gaffe-prone inspector was no longer around, but anyone who requested to enter with concern for the arrested men was still denied permission.

Reporters of "" also found out, according to SDP supporters, that Chee and Gandhi may be charged with trespassing on the Istana's premises. This appears ridiculous, since the Istana grounds were open to the public today. As for Zulfikar who was arrested for "disorderly conduct", the police accused him of "shouting" at Inspector Selvakumar although not one of those who witness the exchange between them heard anything close to "shouting". Police also delayed requests by SDP members to bring food in to those within the police station compound.

In the latest turn of events, Mrs Chee or Huang Chih-Mei told "" that she will stage a sit-in protest at the police headquarters and remain in the public seating area for the whole night until the next morning, and will not budge even if police advise her to leave. Mrs Chee is currently 7 months pregnant with the Chees' second child.

Also, 1st May happens to be the 20th wedding anniversary of SDP CEC member Mohamed Isa Abdul Aziz and his wife, both whom were part of the group gathered outside the police headquarters. Mohamad Isa said he could hardly celebrate their wedding anniversary in lieu of this latest incident but holds no regrets, as his showing was a sign of party solidarity and upholding justice in Singapore.

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