Singapore’s Pink Dot Pride rally forced to ban foreigners
An annual LGBT rally in Singapore has said it has been reminded by authorities that it must not allow foreigners to attend.
Those who are not registered as residents of Singapore will not be allowed in to the 1 July event which attracts crowds of tens of thousands.
The Pink Dot rally started in 2009, and has seen crowds of nearly 30,000 people.
The rally has survived despite attempts from conservative groups to have the event shut down.
But new rules which came into play in November mean that only citizens and permanent residents of Singapore can attend public rallies.
Ironically, the event takes place at the free-speech site Speakers’ Corner.
In a statement on Facebook, organisers of the Pink Dot parade said that it was with “profound regret” that they would need to check people into the event to ensure that everyone in attendance is a resident of Singapore.
“In order to continue using Speakers’ Corner, Pink Dot 2017 organisers have no choice but to adhere to this regulation, as organisers and foreigners caught flouting this rule are liable to be prosecuted,” they said.
Those caught violating the law can face finds of up to S$10,000 or jail terms of up to six months.
Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) last year said foreign companies are to stop funding, supporting or influencing events held at Speaker’s Corner.
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LGBT events such as Pink Dot, which support freedom of love within the community, are under threat with this move to block sponsorship.
Facebook, Apple, Google and Visa are just a selection of 18 corporate companies that partnered up with Pink Dot last year to act as sponsors and celebrate its 8th annual event.
The zone is a free speech area in Hong Lim Park in Singapore. Events can be held in the space without the need for a license.
In a statement, the Singapore Government stated that foreign entities should not interfere in domestic, political or controversial social issues with any political overtones because “these are political, social or moral choices for Singaporeans to decide for ourselves. LGBT issues are one such example.”
“This is why under the rules governing the use of the Speakers’ Corner, for events like Pink Dot, foreigners are not allowed to organise or speak at the events, or participate in demonstrations.”
LGBT people lack many of the rights that heterosexual individuals have in Singapore. The country does not recognise same-sex marriage and sex between males is also illegal but generally this law is not enforced. Recently, the country did lift its ban on people with HIV visiting the country.