SINGAPORE - The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has reminded the public that it is illegal to organise or participate in a public assembly without a police permit, after news emerged that Singapore was among 43 countries chosen to host an "international meet-up" day organised by a controversial US pick-up artist and pro-rape advocate.
Fort Canning Park was initially listed as one of the 165 meeting spots worldwide for supporters of Mr Daryush Valizadeh, known also as Roosh V, to gather on Saturday (Feb 6).
Mr Valizadeh, who has since cancelled the event, runs a blog called Return Of Kings. It claims to be for "heterosexual, masculine men" who believe that "men should be masculine and women should be feminine".
Among the many controversial articles he had penned on the blog included one that called for rape to be made legal if done on private property.
Facing considerable backlash in many countries where meetings had been planned, Mr Valizadeh subsequently announced in a blog post on Wednesday (Feb 3) that he was calling off the event as he could "no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend".
"While I can’t stop men who want to continue meeting in private groups, there will be no official Return Of Kings meetups," the post added.
Responding to a query from The Straits Times on Thursday (Feb 4), an SPF spokesman said: "The police are aware of the online posting to hold meetings in a number of cities. Singapore was identified as one of the meeting locations."
It added that doing so would constitute an offence under Public Order Act.
In November 2014, US-based dating coach and self-proclaimed pick-up artist Julien Blanc was barred from entering Singapore to conduct his seminars following an online petition.
Mr Blanc had come under fire when material from his courses were revealed to contain tactics appearing to suggest physical violence, intimidation and emotional abuse against women to persuade them to have sex.
Weighing in on this, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said in a Facebook post on Thursday that "we should not just say no, but to affirm our own values by making a stand when we encounter bigotry, and to actively inculcate them in our children".