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The group of activists who protested outside the Parliament House on 15 Mar this year has been charged with two offences: participating in an assembly as well as a procession without a permit in a public place.
The 18 protesters were part of the Tak Boleh Tahan! campaign protesting against the crushing high cost of living in Singapore that has left many Singaporeans in financial misery and added to the growing number of homeless.
Those charged under the Miscellaneous Offences Act are Mr Gandhi Ambalam, Mr Chong Kai Xiong, Mr Chia Ti Lik, Ms Chee Siok Chin, Mr Ng E-jay, Ms Go Hui Leng, Mr Muhammad Shafi’ie, Mr Govinda Rajan, Dr Chee Soon Juan, Mr Jeffrey George, Mr Carl Lang, Mr Sylvester Lim, Mr Muhammad Jufri, Ms Suraya Bte Akbar, Mr John Tan, Mr Seelan Palay, Mr Mohamed Jufrie, Mr Yap Keng Ho and Mr Francis Yong.
Each offence carries a penalty of fine of up to $1,000.
Mr Seelan Palay said this of his charge: “This is our constitutional right that cannot be taken away. I hope that through our persistence and conviction for the cause, others will be inspired to stand up.”
The unprecedented protest signals a growing awareness of Singaporeans who are not willing to sit back and let the PAP continue with its oppressive rule in Singapore.
“It is important that we Singaporeans claim back our political rights,” Ms Suraya, a young mother of two, said. “Without rights our citizenship is meaningless.”
Eleven of the protesters were stopped by the police and arrested on 15 Mar which is World Consumer Rights Day. (Watch video here) Seven more were later called up for investigations.
In the same occasion in 2007, thousands of people took part in a protest organised by the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) led by PAP MPs (see photo on left). No action was taken against them.
This year CASE again conducted their march (protesting against the marketing of junk food) the day after the Tak Boleh Tahan! protest. Again no police action was taken.
Such discrimination in the application of the law is prohibited by Article 12 of the Constitution which states that “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.”
The protesters have to appear in Court 23 at the Subordinate Courts on 11 Jul 08 at 9am.