No previous incidents with multiple events: NParks

No previous incidents with multiple events: NParks
Some of the participants of the Pink Dot mass picnic event held on 29 June 2013.

Before the turn of events at Hong Lim Park last Saturday, multiple gatherings - even those with clashing agendas - had been held on the same date with "no adverse or disorderly incidents", the National Parks Board (NParks) said last night.

These included the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community's Pink Dot picnic, an anti-haze speech and a protest against the Cross- Island MRT Line on June 29 last year. A picnic to promote community bonding and a protest against the Population White Paper were also held on May 1 last year.

Citing such examples, an NParks spokesman said there were no untoward incidents as groups "showed consideration and respect... despite their different views and agendas".

When more than one application is received, NPark's approach has been to allow participants to share the space, the spokesman added.

Any Singaporean can apply to hold an event as long as the activities "are not unlawful or incite feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different racial or religious groups".

Last Saturday's events - the Return Our CPF rally and a YMCA charity event - were allocated separate lawns which were clearly demarcated.

Said the spokesman: "Unfortunately, members from the Return Our CPF rally refused to conduct their activities in their designated area... They noisily disrupted the charity event by chanting and waving Singapore flags and marching around the site. Their conduct caused alarm and anxiety to a group of special needs children who were about to perform a dance item on stage and left some of these children as well as elderly members of the audience shocked and traumatised."

This article was first published on Sep 30, 2014.
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