Pink Dot 2017 to have barricades, ID checks by security personnel

Pink Dot 2017 to have barricades, ID checks by security personnel

SINGAPORE: This year's Pink Dot rally at Hong Lim Park will have barricades installed around the perimeter of the event with entry checkpoints manned by security personnel, organisers announced on Tuesday (May 30). 

The measures are to comply with recent changes to the Public Order Act that block foreigners from promoting political causes in Singapore, Pink Dot organisers said.

It means that only Singaporeans and permanent residents will be allowed to attend this year’s Pink Dot, which is held in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. 

In a statement on the Pink Dot website, organisers said barricades would be set up around the Speakers' Corner at Hong Lim Park and those attending are required to show their pink or blue identity cards to prove that they are Singaporeans or permanent residents. 

"The set-up of barricades and check points around the park was the only measure deemed acceptable by authorities; this was a decision taken out of our hands and is something we do not readily agree with,” said Pink Dot SG spokesperson Paerin Choa.

In previous Pink Dot events, while foreigners were prohibited from participating, they were allowed to observe the rally.

In the website's frequently asked questions section, organisers said that foreigners who want to support the event can follow the proceedings which will be streamed on Facebook. There will also be updates on the event's Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter platforms. 

A Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spokesperson said on Wednesday that Speakers' Corner is a place for Singaporeans to express their views on issues that matter to them.

"The Public Order (Unrestricted Area) Order 2016 sets out the Speakers’ Corner rules for events that are held at the Speakers’ Corner. The organisers are responsible for ensuring that suitable and appropriate measures have been put in place to ensure these rules are complied with."

The spokesperson added that police had also advised Pink Dot organisers to consider conducting bag checks for the safety of their participants, given the "current security environment". 

The ambassadors for Pink Dot 2017 are Paralympian Theresa Goh, singer Nathan Hartono and actor Ebi Shankara.

Source: CNA/am