Singapore police on Tuesday evening arrested three individuals for rowdy behaviour at the annual Thaipusam procession after a scuffle that ended with one policeman being sent to hospital.
In a statement posted to its Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon, police said its officers were sent to the junction of Serangoon Road and Desker Road at about 6:50pm, after a group there refused to stop playing drums despite being requested to by Thaipusam organisers.
The Hindu Thaipusam procession is an annual event held in Singapore where devotees make the journey on foot either carrying kavadi structures or other items such as milk pots in offering to Murugan, the Hindu God of War. The walking route covers a roughly 4km distance from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road.
Friends or relatives of devotees who participate in the procession often support them with musical accompaniment, but in Singapore, the use of musical instruments during processions has been banned since 1973.
While the officers were speaking to the group of drum-players, police said a 33-year-old man confronted them in a “rowdy manner”, and another two men, a 28-year-old and a 32-year-old, came forward to try to stop the police from arresting him.
The 32-year-old assaulted three officers in the process, police said, and both were placed under arrest as well.
One police officer who was injured was then sent to Tan Tock Seng hospital for treatment.
“The three men, all Singaporeans, also used vulgarities against the officers,” the statement said. “All three men were believed to have been drinking earlier as they smelt strongly of alcohol.”
Police said they are investigating the incident.