Singapore protesters hit out at immigration and labour policies

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 May, 2014, 1:07am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 May, 2014, 1:07am


Hundreds of Singaporeans rallied yesterday to denounce the government's immigration and labour policies amid a fresh wave of anti-foreigner sentiment in the city state.

Protesters, estimated to number around 400, wore black headbands with the words "Protect Singaporean Rights" in red as they chanted slogans against the long-ruling People's Action Party.

Protest leader Gilbert Goh, an employment counsellor, said the rally was intended to display Singaporeans' continued dissatisfaction with the large foreign population in the city.

"When we speak up for the country, we are branded as xenophobes," he said. "I am doing all this for my country. I am willing to die for my country."

Goh, however, dropped plans to ask rally participants to deface a poster of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after receiving a stern warning from police officers.

Singaporeans make up just over 60 per cent of the country's 5.4 million population. Its low fertility rate forces the republic to rely heavily on guest workers to power its economy.

The protest took place at a designated free-speech park amid a wave of attacks in social media directed at the Filipino community over a planned festival celebrating Philippine Independence Day in June along busy Orchard Road.