Singapore

Barricades at Hong Lim Park for Pink Dot rally

For the first time, a Speakers' Corner event will see barricades erected around Hong Lim Park, with entry points manned by security officers.

These security officers will also be checking the bags and identity cards of attendees.

The measures will be in place on July 1 at the ninth edition of the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rally Pink Dot.

They are aimed at dealing with two issues: ensuring that foreigners do not attend the event, as well as security concerns in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.

Pink Dot organisers said that they were asked by police to suggest what measures they are taking to ensure only Singaporeans and permanent residents attend the event.

This follows an amendment to the Public Order Act last October. With effect from November last year, organisers of Speakers' Corner events "must ensure that only citizens of Singapore or permanent residents of Singapore participate in the assembly or procession".

Those who fail to comply can face a fine of up to $10,000, be jailed for up to six months, or both.

Pink Dot spokesman Paerin Choa said after three rounds of discussions, "the only suggestion that the police has agreed to is barricading the park".

"This was a decision taken out of our hands and is something we do not readily agree with," he added, saying that the organisers had offered other ideas such as random bag checks.

In response to ST's queries, the Ministry of Home Affairs said: "The organisers are responsible for ensuring that suitable and appropriate measures have been put in place to ensure these rules are complied with."

Pink Dot also announced that its ambassadors this year are singer Nathan Hartono, para-swimmer Theresa Goh and actor Ebi Shankara.

 

PINK DOTMINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (MHA)