Police issue public advisory to 'keep the peace' at Pink Dot event

Some of the participants of the Pink Dot mass picnic event held on June 29, 2013. The police on June 26, 2014, issued an advisory to the public ahead of this Saturday's Pink Dot event, urging attendees to "keep the peace" and reminding organiser
Some of the participants of the Pink Dot mass picnic event held on June 29, 2013. The police on June 26, 2014, issued an advisory to the public ahead of this Saturday's Pink Dot event, urging attendees to "keep the peace" and reminding organisers to steer clear of race and religion. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The police on Thursday issued an advisory to the public ahead of this Saturday's Pink Dot event, urging attendees to "keep the peace" and reminding organisers to steer clear of race and religion.

This is the first time the authorities have done so in the five years since the pro-gay event was first held, and comes as the event organisers have taken the unprecedented move of deploying security personnel to manage crowds and potential "unruly behaviour".

These moves have come as some Muslim and Christian groups have called on people to join a "Wear White" campaign against Pink Dot and homosexuality, raising the prospect of a protest at the event itself.

However, on Thursday night, the people behind the Wear White campaign told its supporters to stay away.

"It should be an event that no Muslim is associated with. This includes going to the event to dissuade anyone," they said in a Facebook post.

"We should make them irrelevant. They should not define how Muslims behave."

Instead, with the Pink Dot picnic coinciding with the start of Ramadan, it urged supporters to head to the mosque for prayers.

The police advisory reminded organisers to ensure that activities are not against the law or the rules governing the use of the Hong Lim Park area, including keeping away from issues like race or religion.

Pink Dot's organisers welcomed the advisory.

Over the past five years, a spokesperson said, Pink Dot has abided by the rules and regulations of the Speakers' Corner without incident.

"This year's event will be no different," he added.

The committee is also mindful of the rules involving race and religion, he said, and Pink Dot is a "secular event that embraces all Singaporeans".

And the committee will continue to urge the public to "remain calm, exercise restraint and engage each other in peaceful, constructive dialogue", he added.

First-aid teams and doctors will also be on standby, and over a hundred volunteers will help manage the crowd and keep the park clean, he said.