Think Centre and Police Meet to Discuss Rally

Posted by under News on 10 April 2001

Think Centre's Organising Committee (OC) met with the representatives of the Police for the joint site recce/survey for the Save JBJ rally today (10th April 2001). This exploratory meeting was held at Yio Chu Kang stadium, the proposed venue for the rally, at 3pm.

Six individuals represented each party at the site recce. James Gomez, Jacob George, Goh Yew Chai, Yaw Shin Leong and Melvin Tan. The surprise guest was J B Jeyaretnam who was invited by Think Centre to attend the proceedings. ASP Teo Chor Leng, Head (Operations & Training), from Ang Mo Kio Police Division led the police side with five other colleagues one of whom had a video camera with him. As ASP Teo pointed it out the video camera was to film the areas of the stadium so that they could have film footages to aid them. (But most of the time he was videotaping the conversation!)

The initial question from ASP Teo was our general plan for the rally itself. Gomez replied that the rally is planned to be held between 5pm to 10pm. But the event proper would begin sometime around 7pm. There would be 12 speakers and J B Jeyaretnam would be the last to speak. Gomez who would also be one of the speakers will double as the MC for the event. All speakers will have prepared texts of their speeches. There would be no intervals or other activities beyond what has been planned.

After this general outline, ASP Teo asked about the PA system being used. Goh Yew Chai, a member of the OC, replied that 2 to 3 speakers would be placed around the field on speaker poles and that these "2 to 3 speakers are powerful enough" for the event. The question of placing the stage was also brought up and discussed. At this point Gomez asked ASP Teo whether this site survey was a normal procedure to which the ASP replied that it was normal to have such surveys done as part of the routine. But this raises the question why this was not done the first time around. Instead the application was flatly denied. Turning to the OC, ASP Teo asked about the number of people projected to attend the rally. Gomez replied that its purely speculative and difficult to determine but with the publicity for the rally a good number of people are expected.

The other major point raised was crowd control. Gomez said that 12 people would act as marshalls with a leader who would also function as the police liaison. If the police officers on the scene deem that there is any problem they could liase with the person appointed as the lead marshall. When queried about the potential problem of people who may cause trouble at the rally and if so would police officers assist the organisers, the answer from the police was that they would record this concern and work it into their deployment for the event.

Finally, Gomez was asked about carpark arrangements. In his reply he said that ideally it would be better if the people use the MRT to get to the stadium so as not to cause a jam and this would be highlighted on the Think Centre website, through the Centre's mail list and press releases.

At the close of the meeting, which took about 40 minutes, Gomez asked ASP Teo when an answer would be given. ASP Teo replied that the results of the survey would be forwarded to the licensing division who will inform Think Centre on whether the permit would be granted or denied.

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