Asia Minute: No Foreigners for Singapore's LGBT Rally

May 16, 2017

Credit Flickr / Jnzl's Photos

One of the most influential rallies in Asia supporting gay rights has just become a bit more exclusive. Organizers say the annual event in Singapore has run into some legal complications. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.


The “Pink Dot” rally started in 2009 with about a thousand people in Singapore—supporting LGBT issues in a country where gay sex is technically illegal.

Last year organizers say about 28,000 showed up.

People have gathered at “Speakers’ Corner” — a portion of a city park that’s been set aside for demonstrations.

When this year’s event takes place on July 1st, there will be some changes: no foreigners.

Up to now, foreigners were technically not allowed to “participate” in the rally—only allowed to “observe.”

Now the “Public Order Law” has been changed. Foreigners are no longer allowed to assemble at Speakers’ Corner and police will no longer distinguish between participants and observers.

Nearly a third of the people who live in Singapore are neither citizens nor permanent residents.

The Home Affairs and Law Minister told Parliament last month “we don’t take a position for or against Pink Dot, but we do take a position against foreign involvement.”

Amnesty International has expressed concern saying that the new rules will “further curtail freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in a country where government critics and activists are already heavily controlled.”