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Singapore man faces action for holding up smiley outside police station – world news

Singapore is set to charge an activist with staging a one-man protest without a permit over an incident in which he held up a sign bearing a smiley face outside a police station.

Police said on Thursday that Jolovan Wham, 40 – who has had several run-ins with authorities in the city-state that tightly controls public assembly – would be formally charged in court on Monday.

The charge relates to a March incident in which Wham demonstrated his support for a young climate activist who said he had been questioned by police over a similar protest in the past. Wham posted a picture of himself holding the sign on his social media accounts.

The rights campaigner, who has already served two brief stints in jail this year, faces a fine of up to $5,000 Singaporean dollars (US$3,723).

“These charges against me only show how absurd the situation has become,” Wham said in a text message. “Calling what I did an assembly is an abuse of the English language. How can one man standing in public for a few seconds for a photo-op be a threat to public order?” Wham argued.

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