Everybody doth protest too much

Jan 23, 2017 08.44AM |
 

THE UK ladies did protest against what they perceived as US President Trump’s attitude towards women, prompting British PM Theresa May to say that when she meets the new President, she will not hold back when she thinks he has said something unacceptable. The UK hopes to build on ties with Washington, especially trade deals in the light of the upcoming hard Brexit. Mr Trump has said that he wants a swift trade deal with Britain.

President Trump clearly believes that size does matter. His protest was against characterisations in the news of a small crowd size during his inauguration. Some TV networks had said that only 250,000 people attended the inauguration, while Trump had tweeted that there were a million or a million and a half people there.

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Whatever the real figures are, photos show that the area was not as crowded as it was for the 2009 inauguration of President Obama. Most news outlets published photos of a half-empty field, but Trump-leaning news sites and his own administration, published photos of a full or almost-full National Mall. Metro ridership on Friday was also lower than in 2009. As far as we can tell, the event was not as crowded as the Obama inauguration, but not quite as empty as a photo like this seems to claim:

A protest in Singapore ended with 30 people getting investigated for taking part in public assembly without a police permit. The protest was at Sembawang Park and was in opposition to a ban on “Jallikattu” in India.

Jallikattu is the tradition of bull wrestling, especially popular in Tamil Nadu during the Pongal festival. Participants try to subdue bulls released in an open field using only their bare hands. India banned the practice after animal rights groups complained that it was inhumane.

It seems that there was an event for the same purpose in Hong Lim Park on Friday and it is unclear if foreigners were involved in the event. It is illegal for non-residents to participate in assemblies without a permit in Hong Lim Park.

So who cares so much about Jallikattu that they would break the law just to be heard? None of the reports said anything about the 30 protesters’ nationalities, but the police statement has said that “foreigners visiting or living in Singapore have to abide by our laws. They should not import the politics of their own countries into Singapore.”

The Worker’s Party has cautioned against the G possibly taking steps to amend anti-harassment laws to protect itself. A Ministry of Law spokesman had said after the split decision in favour of The Online Citizen and Dr Ting Choon Meng that “the Government will study the judgment, and consider what further steps it should take to correct the deliberate spreading of falsehoods.”

The Law Ministry protested the WP announcement, saying that “the Government has never said that it needed protection from harassment. Nor does the Government intend to amend POHA (Protection from Harassment Act) to protect itself from harassment.”

But didn’t Mindef already try to use POHA to protect itself from harassment? At least it clear now that there’s no law change on the cards.

 

Featured image from TMG file.

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