Change in rule on foreigners’ presence in Speakers’ Corner’s events

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The organisers of the annual Pink Dot event said on Sunday, 14 May, that the police have reminded them that “only Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents are permitted to assemble at the Speakers’ Corner.”

“As organisers, we were reminded by the Singapore Police Force that with these changes, the law no longer distinguishes between participants and observers, and regards anyone who turns up to the Speakers’ Corner in support of an event to be part of an assembly,” the Pink Dot statement said.

The organisers said they “have no choice but to adhere to this regulation”, and will ensure that foreigners are not at Hong Lim Park for the event on 1 July.

The rule change means no foreigner is allowed to even be in Speakers’ Corner on the day for the event, a departure from the rule which governed past years’ events.

“Last year, while the regulations governing Speakers’ Corner prohibit foreigners from participating in a demonstration, foreigners were allowed to observe the act of demonstration (the raising of placards),” the organisers said. “The most recent amendments to the regulations remove this element of demonstration and instead impose a blanket restriction on foreigners assembling in Speakers’ Corner.”

In short, it means foreigners are not allowed to even observe from the sidelines of the event.

“Flouting of these laws will subject the organisers, as well as foreigners, to arrest and prosecution by the authorities – something we are sure everyone would want to avoid,” they said.

If found guilty, organisers could face a fine not exceeding S$10,000 or a jail term not exceeding six months or both.

The new rule, which was apparently made known only to the organisers and not through any public announcement, comes on the back of the ban last year on foreign sponsorships of the event.

Only local companies are allowed to fund Pink Dot.

Pink Dot, a celebration of “the right to love”, is a gathering for the LGBT community, and was first established in 2009, with an ever-growing support for each year’s event.

Organisers said last year’s gathering drew some 28,000 people.