4,000 protest against White Paper

SINGAPORE - About 4,000 showed up at Speakers' Corner at Hong Lim Park on Saturday to protest against the Population White Paper approved in Parliament last week, RazorTV reported.

The large turnout at 4pm despite the light drizzle surprised organiser Transitioning.org, a support group which helps the unemployed.

Said Mr Gilbert Goh, president of the organisation: "It was a resounding success..I'm actually very proud of Singaporeans, who came and made history. This is the biggest protest ever since independence days."

He added that "basically, a lot of people are not happy with the population White Paper...and the turn-out is a good demonstration of that".

The protest lasted nearly three hours and featured 12 speakers, including several opposition party members and former presidential candidates, Tan Jee Say and Tan Kin Lian.

A few speakers called for the government to adopt a more consultative approach on the policy, but were quick to emphasise that their stance does not stem from xenophobia.

In his speech, Mr Vincent Wijeysingha, treasurer of the Singapore Democratic Party said: "Many of us have reacted angrily to the population policy, and we have directed our anger at our foreign brothers and sisters. This is wrong. Foreigners are our fellow human beings, and they deserve our respect and our friendship."

After the speeches, Mr Goh encouraged those in attendance to sign a petition, which the organisation will forward to the Prime Minister's Office. According to RazorTV, more than 1,000 people have since done so.

In addition, Transitioning.org will be organising a forum discussing the White Paper at an indoor venue in March.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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