Three arrested for protest outside MOE headquarters

Three people were arrested for taking part in a public assembly without a permit outside the Ministry of Education (MOE) headquarters in Buona Vista yesterday, police said in a statement.

The police added that the trio, whom they did not name but said were aged between 19 and 32, were released on bail at about 10pm.

Investigations are ongoing.

The three were among a group of five people who allegedly staged a protest at about 5pm, carrying placards stating "#fix schools not students", "Why are we not in your sex ed", "How can we get A's when your care for us is an F", "trans students will not be erased" and "trans students deserve access to healthcare & support".

The police said that when officers arrived at the scene, only three people remained. Activists have identified them as Elijah Tay, Lune Loh and Kokila Annamalai.

They were warned to cease their activities as they were liable for an offence, but they ignored the warning and continued with their activities, the police said.

"The group was then issued with a 'move-on' direction under Section 36 of the Public Order Act and were told that they would be arrested if they failed to adhere to the direction," said the police.

"The three refused to comply despite the police's repeated warnings, and were arrested under the Public Order Act at around 5.35pm."

The police said that five placards, two multi-coloured flags and a blue bag were seized in relation to the case.

The protesters had, at around the time of their gathering, issued a statement saying they were a group of students and supporters calling on MOE to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) students, adding it was longstanding.

The protest comes after a transgender pre-university student diagnosed with gender dysphoria said in a Reddit post this month that MOE had blocked her from receiving hormonal treatment. MOE had said this was not true, as it was not in a position to interfere with medical treatment, which is a matter for the student's family to decide on.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2021, with the headline 'Three arrested for protest outside MOE headquarters'. Subscribe