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Only Singaporeans and PRs allowed to attend Pink Dot 2017: Organisers

SINGAPORE — Only Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) will be allowed to attend the annual Pink Dot gathering, to be held at Hong Lim Park, event organisers said on Sunday (May 14).

Pink Dot event, 2016. TODAY file photo

Pink Dot event, 2016. TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — Only Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) will be allowed to attend the annual Pink Dot gathering, to be held at Hong Lim Park, event organisers said on Sunday (May 14). 

This comes after amendments to the Public Order Act, which came into effect on Nov 1. 

One of the amendments states that event organisers must ensure that "only citizens of Singapore or permanent residents of Singapore participate in the assembly or procession".

In a Facebook note on Sunday morning, Pink Dot's organisers said they had received a reminder from the Police that the changes in the law meant that it "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 organisers added that they "have no choice but to adhere to this regulation, as organisers and foreigners caught flouting this rule are liable to be prosecuted". 

Individuals caught illegally participating in Speakers' Corner events can face a fine of up to S$3,000 for their first offence and up to S$5,000 if found to be repeat offenders.

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

Pink Dot is an annual event, held in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. It will be held on July 1 this year. 

The new regulations also mean that from this year, foreign companies cannot sponsor the event. 

In previous Pink Dot events, foreigners were allowed to assemble at Hong Lim Park but not to participate. They were, however, able to observe from the sidelines. 

Past Pink Dot gatherings also saw a stream of multinational companies, such as Google and Barclays bank, sponsoring the event. 

With the new rules, organisers say that they "will have to ensure that anyone who is assembling at Hong Lim Park for Pink Dot 2017 is the owner of either a pink or blue identity card", but did not say more on how this would be done.

The organisers added that they will be live-streaming the event on social media and providing updates for those who are not allowed to attend. 

Acknowledging that the new law "directly impacts and separates individuals with partners, friends and family who might not be Singapore Citizens or PRs", the organisers said "this was a decision that was taken out of our hands" and that they were "just as upset by this". 

"Pink Dot has been honoured by the strong support from friends from around the world who have unfailingly attended our events over the years, observing as their Singaporean friends make a stand for inclusion, diversity and the Freedom to Love," they said. 

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