Police arrest three for scuffle during Thaipusam procession on Feb 3

A man is led away by police during the scuffle in a still from a video posted on the Facebook page of Mickey Vikieboy. Three Singaporean men have been arrested for a scuffle with police officers along Desker Road during a Thaipusam procession on
A man is led away by police during the scuffle in a still from a video posted on the Facebook page of Mickey Vikieboy. Three Singaporean men have been arrested for a scuffle with police officers along Desker Road during a Thaipusam procession on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: VIKNESWARAAN SEGAR/FACEBOOK 

SINGAPORE - Three Singaporean men have been arrested for a scuffle with police officers along Desker Road during a Thaipusam procession on Tuesday.

The three men, aged 33, 32, and 28, are said to have hurled vulgarities at officers and injured one of them. Videos of the scuffle have been making rounds online.

One video showed the tense situation along Desker Road during the procession, and officers and devotees were seen pushing and shouting at each other.

Netizens have questioned the behaviour of the officers and whether they used excessive force.

In a statement on Wednesday, police said that during the Thaipusam procession around 6.50pm on Feb 3, organisers asked a group to stop playing drums at the junction of Serangoon Road and Desker Road, as it was not allowed according to the police permit for the event.

But the group did not listen, so police were called in.

"When police officers were speaking to the group, a 33-year-old man from a separate group came forward and confronted the police officers in a rowdy manner. Despite numerous warnings to calm down, he persisted with his disorderly behaviour and was placed under arrest," said a police spokesman.

As the man was being arrested, two other men, aged 32 and 28, came forward to stop the arrest. The 32-year-old assaulted three officers, and one officer was sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

"All three men were believed to have been drinking earlier as they smelt strongly of alcohol," added police.

Investigations against the three men are ongoing.

Police added that the ban on musical instruments during processions is not a new requirement and has been in place since 1973. This is "to deter public disorder which may be caused by rivalries between groups and to minimize the impact of the procession along the procession route".

Police have appealed for witnesses of the incident to provide more information.