Singaporean activist and social worker Jolovan Wham will be charged in court on Nov. 23 with offences under the Public Order Act.
According to a police news release on Saturday (Nov. 21), Wham, 40, allegedly staged two illegal protests — one in a prohibited area and another with no permit.
Dec. 13, 2018 incident
On Dec. 13, 2018, Wham shared a photo on social media of himself standing on the steps in front of the former State Courts building, holding a sign that reads "Drop the charges against Terry Xu and Daniel De Costa".
That day, Terry Xu, the editor of The Online Citizen (TOC), and Daniel De Costa, a contributor to TOC, were charged for publishing an article that accused the Singapore government's higher officers of corruption.
Wham had written to police in November 2018 to apply for a permit to stage a protest outside the State Courts.
His application was not approved.
Police stated in the news release that Wham's alleged protest on the steps of the former State Courts building was within a prohibited area under the Public Order (Prohibited Areas) Order 2009.
Mar. 28, 2020 incident
The second incident that Wham is being charged for occurred on Mar. 28, 2020, when he held up a cardboard sign with a smiley face drawn on it in Toa Payoh Central.He did so in support of two Singaporean youths who were being investigated after holding up climate action signs without permit.
The police news release stated that by doing so, Wham had allegedly staged a protest without a permit.
Faces fine of up to S$5,000 for each incident
Wham said in a Facebook post on Thursday (Nov. 19) that on both occasions, he had been present at the locations solely to take photos to upload to social media:
"I barely stayed in the area for more than several seconds. Yet, what I did has been deemed as a public protest by the State."
If found guilty by the court, Wham faces a fine of up to S$5,000 for each charge.
The police included a reminder in their news release that organising or taking part in a public assembly without a police permit in Singapore is illegal and is an offence under the Public Order Act:
"The Speakers’ Corner is the proper avenue for Singaporeans to express their views on issues that concern them, and to allow Singaporeans to conduct assemblies without the need for a permit, subject to certain conditions being met."
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Top photos via Jolovan Wham's Instagram and Facebook.