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By meWATCH Published: 27 Sep 2019 Audio: English
It was the second death anniversary Sun Yat Sen, and for many, it was still unclear how his legacy should be commemorated. The colonial authorities agreed to the observance, on condition that there would be no speeches, parades or slogan-shouting. To prevent the more politically motivated Hainanese from taking centre-stage, they were instructed to gather further away and after the official starting time of the observance began. Ignoring prohibitions, speeches were given by Cantonese speakers, who warned of the ‘silver-tongued preachers of communism’. Cries of ‘Down with Imperialism’ began to be heard in the crowd and scuffles broke out. A trolley bus was attacked and the policemen, who arrived on the scene were set upon. The policemen had to retreat to the Kreta Ayer police station fighting off the crowd with batons and bayonets. The rioters only dispersed when instructions were given to fire into the crowd killing 5 and injuring 11. In the days that followed, an extended period of political unrest appeared in Singapore for the first time.
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