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Police Brutality During Thaipusam Scuffle? 3 Men Arrested for Rowdy Behaviour; Alcohol Blamed

Police say the 3 men they arrested at a Thaipusam procession on Tuesday (3 Feb) smelt of alcohol and shouted vulgarities at officers at scene. They also accuse one man of assaulting a police officer.

Conflicting reports abound over why police were called to intervene when a group of men people refused to stop playing drums during the procession at Serangoon Road.

The police account states that police were activated after organisers Thaipusam organisers couldn’t stop the men from playing drums. It’s illegal in Singapore to play musical instruments during processions.

Other reports say police were alerted to the group of drummers after a Filipino family complained that the noise caused their baby to cry. These reports are unverified.

Apparently, violence followed after police arrived to stop the drummers.

Officers were said to have been attacked with a verbal barrage of profanities.

When the group resisted arrest, one man attacked a police officer, injuring him and resulting in him being sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. The officer is now in stable condition.

Police eventually arrested 3 men for disorderly behaviour.

Some witnesses accuse the accuse officers of being brutal in their approach to the group. They say some officers kicked and grabbed those involved by the neck.

While investigations are taking place, police have released a statement about the scuffle:

During the Thaipusam procession on 3 February 2015 at about 6.50pm, Thaipusam organisers requested a group of people to stop playing drums at the junction of Serangoon Road and Desker Road, as doing so contravened the conditions of the police permit for the event.

However, the group was not cooperative and 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.

While one of our officers was effecting the arrest of the man, another two men, aged 32 and 28, came forward to stop the arrest, with the 32 year old assaulting three officers in the process.

The three men, all Singaporeans, also used vulgarities against the officers. All three men were believed to have been drinking earlier as they smelt strongly of alcohol.

They have been arrested and investigations are ongoing. One injured Police officer was conveyed conscious to TTSH and is in stable condition.

The prohibition of musical instruments during processions is not a new requirement and has already been in place since 1973.

Police have disallowed the use of music during procession 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 would like to appeal for witnesses of the incident to come forward to provide more information.

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