Background: Dr Chee Soon Juan delivered the closing statement below at Hong Lim Park before the team stood down their protest. (Empower Singaporeans @ Speakers' Corner, 16 - 19 Sept 2006)
After 72 hours of this protracted stand-off with the police, we stand before you with our spirits elevated and our courage fortified. Having surveyed what has happened over the past three days, we can conclude that we have achieved what we set out to achieve and then some.|
The world now knows the extent of repression in Singapore and hopefully this will translate into pressure on the Singapore Government to reform the system.
The protest has also allowed the activists to discover ourselves and find the courage that we never thought we had.
As a result, we are announcing that we are standing down and ending our action on a highly satisfactory note.
I had warned PM Lee Hsien Loong in my podcast on the eve of our protest that if he makes the wrong decision of clamping down on our democratic rights that the repercussion will do much damage to his Prime Ministership.
I don't think that anyone here today can deny that the ill-advised and clumsy effort to stop us from marching to Parliament House has been a complete and utter disaster for the Government's reputation across the world.
Unwittingly, the Government has helped us create a much heavier and wider impact by stopping us than if they had allowed us to march.
I had also warned the Prime Minister that every act of repression will be met by a stronger reaction from pro-democracy groups. It is a fight that he cannot win.
If you have seen what I have seen and heard what I have heard over these last few days, you will realise that the protesters have become even more steeled in our resolve to wean the PAP off its dictatorial habits.
In addition, our numbers have grown. Supporters and observers have noted how a peaceful yet defiant act of civil disobedience can help to bring about positive change. Our numbers can only grow.
We are already planning for the next stage which will see an escalation of our campaign. Over the next few months, more activists will be recruited and trained, and more activities will be organised.
(19 Sept 2006)