7. Police powers over meetings, processions and gatherings
Any police officer of or above the rank of inspector may prohibit the display at a public gathering of any flag, banner or other emblem if such police officer reasonably believes that the display of any flag, banner or emblem is likely to cause or lead to a breach of the peace. Where such a prohibition is issued, any police officer may seize and detain any flag, banner or emblem and may if reasonably necessary enter any premises or places and stop and board any vehicle, tramcar, train or vessel, and use such force as may be necessary for these purposes. Breach of the prohibition may attract a fine at level 2 ($5,000) and imprisonment for 2 years.
Any police officer may prevent the holding of, stop, or disperse any public meeting or public processions not having been notified to, or contravening of any conditions imposed by, the Commissioner of Police.
For public meetings of less than 50 people and public processions of less than 30 people, of which prior notification needs not be served to the Commissioner of Police, the Commissioner may still exercise his general power to control meetings, processions and gatherings.
If the Commissioner of Police reasonably considers it to be necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, he may, in such manner as he thinks fit:
· control and direct the conduct of all public gatherings and specify the route by which, and the time at which, any public procession may pass;
· control and direct the extent to which music may be played, or to which music or human speech or any other sound may be amplified, broadcast, relayed, or otherwise reproduced by artificial means in public places or towards public places.
A police officer of at least the rank of inspector may:
· prevent the holding of, stop, disperse or vary the route of any public gathering whether or not notification to the Commissioner of Police was given.
· stop or disperse any public gathering exclusively for religious purpose, or any meeting not in a public place, or any type of gathering at any time, if reasonably believes a breach of the peace may result.
In preventing the holding of, stop, disperse, or vary the route of any public gathering, a police officer may give order as he considers necessary and may use reasonable force and enter any premises or place which the meeting takes place. The police would normally communicate such orders to the public by raising a flag or announcements through loudhailers or speakers.
A police officer of at least the rank of inspector may by exhibiting notices, erecting physical barriers, by oral announcements, or reasonably necessary force to bar any person’s, or any class of person’s, access to any public place in order to prevent any un-notified public meeting or public procession from taking place.