Questions about 17 August mass protest

The call for a mass protest against the Government’s decision to not allow candidates other than Mr S R Nathan to stand for the Presidential elections at Speakers’ Corner on 17 August 2005 is suspect.

First the report by the Asia Press Service does not identify the organisers. Second, there is no press company called the Asia Press Service.

While the Singapore Democrats support initiatives by the citizens to gather together to exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly, we are concerned that, in this instance, the protest organiser(s) have not identified themselves. This raises the possibility that troublemakers may use the event to cause alarm and mischief.

The SDP advocates and defends the rights of Singaporeans to use peaceful protests and other forms of nonviolent civil action to call attention to unjust laws that harm rather than help citizens, and to compel the authorities to remove or amend such laws.

However, we also ensure that activists are trained in nonviolent tactics which strictly prohibit any one from using violence against other persons (including law enforcement officers) or from desecrating public property. Nonviolent practitioners will exercise moral authority instead of physical violence to overcome repression. If any suffering and abuse need to be endured, it will be on the part of the nonviolent protesters.

Therefore, the SDP hopes that the mass protest on 17 August (if the announcement is not a hoax and that there is actually going to be one) will be orderly and peaceful.

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