Police refute claim on planned rally at Australian High Commission

The police have refuted a claim made on Twitter that they had been consulted on plans for a protest outside the Australian High Commission today.

The protest appears to be in response to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's planned trip to Singapore. He is due to arrive today.

The police said they are aware of a tweet by Twitter user @watermelonsalt5 that claimed the user had checked with them about the planned protest, and that a permit for it was likely to be granted.

"Contrary to what the post claims, the police did not receive any inquiries on or application for a permit for this protest," they said in a release yesterday.

The tweet, time-stamped at 11.49am on June 4, says the user was intending to stage a one-man protest in front of the Australian High Commission today, with a large picture of a mouse carrying the hashtags #ScottyGoHome, #LoveIsNotTourism, #stranded Aussies and #LetUsBackToAus.

The tweet, which was deleted yesterday, ends with: "Have checked with the Singapore Police Force, they're likely to grant a protest permit." Mr Morrison appears to be the subject of the hashtag #ScottyGoHome.

The large mouse is explained by the user in later tweets as a reference to a plague of mice currently bothering residents in the Australian state of New South Wales.

The tweet was made in response to a post by Sydney Morning Herald journalist Latika Bourke. Her tweet is about Mr Morrison's trip to Singapore. It says: "Scott Morrison's trip to Singapore next week will be (the) third in as many months that an Australian Cabinet member, fully vaxxed, will travel to banned countries and quarantine at home - something currently denied to Australians, even those vaxxed."

On April 29, the BBC reported that as many as 36,000 Australians had registered for government help to return home.

Since the country closed its borders in March last year, caps on returning Australian nationals mean there are limits on how many may fly home every week.

The police said they would like to remind the public that organising or participating in a public assembly without a permit is illegal, and they will not grant any permit for assemblies that advocate political causes of other countries. They added that foreigners visiting or living in Singapore should abide by its laws.

Based on previous tweets, the Twitter user appears to be an international student campaigning to return to Australia for university.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2021, with the headline 'Police refute claim on planned rally at Australian High Commission'. Subscribe