SINGAPORE: Amid rising global tensions, Singapore is taking strong measures to preserve national peace and stability. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the National Parks Board (NParks) declared a prohibition on public events and assemblies related to the Israel-Hamas conflict due to severe security concerns, as announced in a press statement on Wednesday (18 Oct).
“We’ve observed intentions to organize public gatherings concerning the volatile conflict, and several groups have proposed events at the Speakers’ Corner,” an SPF spokesperson stated.
“However, given the heightened sensitivities and the global nature of the repercussions, allowing such events poses a serious threat to our public safety and security.”
NParks, which vets applications for events at the Speakers’ Corner, has aligned with the SPF’s apprehensions. The regulations mandate stringent review, especially for foreigners and non-local entities planning events or speeches at this designated site for public expression.
Highlighting disturbing incidents abroad related to the conflict, the authorities urged a cautious approach. “Instances of violence linked to the Israel-Hamas situation have erupted globally. It’s a stark reminder that we cannot afford to let external conflicts seed disturbances in Singapore,” the SPF spokesperson added.
Emphasizing the nation’s commitment to protecting its racial and religious harmony, the spokesperson remarked, “Singapore’s internal cohesion is paramount. We cannot allow international discord to undermine our unity. The sensitivity of the Israel-Hamas issue and potential for unrest compel us to deny permissions for such events.”
The SPF also clarified the legal framework governing public assemblies. “Under the Public Order Act 2009, organizing or participating in a public assembly without a police permit is an offence. We will not grant permits for events advocating political causes of other countries or that risk inciting communal tensions,” the spokesperson warned.
Singaporeans were reminded to tread carefully in discussions about the conflict. “We urge the public to maintain respectful discourse on this matter. Insensitive or incendiary comments about race or religion are not just hurtful; they endanger our national solidarity,” emphasized the police representative.
Reaffirming their stance, the SPF concluded, “Our position is clear. Actions that threaten racial and religious harmony will not be tolerated. Anyone attempting to disrupt our peace will face the full force of the law.”
The SPF’s announcement comes against the backdrop of the escalating conflict in the Gaza Strip, where significant casualties have been reported following the outbreak of violence earlier this month. Around 3,000 Gazans have been killed in Israeli strikes since the country’s military started bombarding the Palestinian territory on 7 October.
The conflict erupted when Hamas militants from Gaza launched attacks on multiple border communities and military posts in Israel. More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel during the war, while the army has identified 199 hostages abducted to Gaza.
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