Workers and others criticise city's labour policy and graft More than 600 workers and citizens took to the streets of Macau yesterday on the seventh anniversary of the handover to protest over the government's labour policy and calling on it to tackle corruption problems. The two workers' unions that organised the march said it was the first time such a protest had been organised on the handover anniversary. An analyst said the march reflected the grievances of the public and represented their hopes for an open and democratic society. The protesters marched to the chief executive's office, demanding the government clamp down on illegal workers. They called for people to receive pensions at the age of 60, rather than 65, and for free higher secondary schooling to be introduced next year. Opposition lawmakers joined the march, calling on the Macau government to handle graft problems following the high-profile corruption case brought against former secretary for transport and public works Ao Man-long. To avoid a repeat of scuffles during a 5,000-strong protest march on Labour Day, police were deployed. The protests came as Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah called for unity from the public. At a reception celebrating the handover anniversary, he said the community, which was facing challenges, should be united in working for a harmonious society and to preserve the achievements of Macau. 'When fighting for individual interests, they should respect the interests of other people, and when expressing their views they should tolerate the views of others,' Mr Ho said. A flag-raising ceremony was held yesterday morning, while different groups held a series of activities across the city. Wong Pui-lam, secretary-general of a Macau labourers' association - one of the protest organisers - said it was unprecedented that so many had turned out to protest on the handover anniversary. He said local workers faced unemployment problems because one in five workers were imported. Another organiser, Ng Sek-lo, said no one had organised a protest march on the handover anniversary in previous years because of political pressure. 'But this time, people decided to come out,' Mr Ng said. Holding a banner proclaiming 'Anti-corruption, protecting people's livelihood', lawmaker Au Kam-san said he joined the march because he hoped the government would handle corruption problems and be more accountable to the public. Political commentator Larry So Man-yum said the rare protest on the handover anniversary reflected the public's long-term grievances and the fact that there were few channels for them to voice their demands. He said that in the past the handover anniversary had always been a day for celebrations rather than protests. 'This march showed that people hope that Macau can become an open and democratic society,' Mr So said.