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Ugly scenes break out at Hong Lim Park

SINGAPORE — Ugly scenes broke out at Hong Lim Park yesterday (Sept 27), where protestors allegedly heckled participants of a YMCA carnival including special needs children.

SINGAPORE  — Ugly scenes broke out at Hong Lim Park yesterday (Sept 27), where protestors allegedly heckled participants of a YMCA carnival including special needs children.

The two events  — the YMCA carnival and a rally called Return Our CPF  — had been given approval to be held at the Speaker’s Corner and were allocated separate lawns, according to a joint statement by the police and National Parks Board (NParks).

The statement said NParks and the police approached rally organiser, blogger Han Hui Hui, 22, to "request her cooperation to speak at the allocated space" but Ms Han "did not heed our advice and continued to hold her event at the same lawn as YMCA".

"Ms Han’s group encroached into the YMCA event area, holding placards and shouting slogans, disrupted performances and frightened participants, including special needs children who were performing at the charity event. The Police will be conducting investigations into this incident,” the statement said.

According to a Channel NewsAsia report, participants of the protest rally ended up marching around the YMCA event at least four times. The protestors also got close to Minister of State (Trade and Industry) Teo Ser Luck, who attended the YMCA event. 

In a Facebook post last night, Ms Han claimed the group walked towards the stage after the children finished their performance and YMCA staff “tried to push us back out" of Hong Lim Park. 

“The moment we reached the stage area, they pushed those children out (to perform), they were shocked at why there were being pushed out and so were we. We decided to walk off as it’s Teo Ser Luck who we wanted to ask to #ReturnOurCPF.”

She posted the following video on her Facebook page:

Video: YouTube/theonlinecitizen toc

Reaction to the alleged heckling has been swift.

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin wrote on Facebook: “I am appalled. We now heckle special needs children? Vile. Total and absolute disgrace.”

He added: “The space is wide. But there are some lines (that) we should not cross. This is one line I never expected to see violated in this manner.”

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing also posted on Facebook: “One may hold different viewpoints and try to seek attention to one's cause. But to do so with no regard or respect to the elderly and special needs children present is most unbecoming.

"To cause alarm and distress to special needs children, and disrupting their routine cannot be right no matter how righteous you think your own cause may be. This cannot be the type of behaviour that represents Singaporeans."

Others have shared a video of the incident on social media.

Video: YouTube/Tube User

Several events have been held on the same date at Hong Lim Park previously. On June 29 last year, Pink Dot 2013, anti-haze speech and the protest against LTA cross island MRT Line events were held at the location.

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