On 2 June 2020, Malaysian police dispersed a peaceful picket against a hospital cleaning services company. The workers’ complaints included alleged unfair treatment of union members by the company and insufficient personal protective equipment for cleaners. Police arrested, detained and charged five activists for “unauthorised gathering”, violating their rights to freedom of association and assembly. We call on the Minister of Home Affairs to drop all charges against them. Pickets are an essential component of the right to association and no one should be prosecuted solely for a peaceful gathering.