Large turnout at Speakers' Corner for protest against Population White Paper

A large crowd gathered at Speakers' Corner for a protest against the Population White Paper that was endorsed by Parliament last week.

Many came with umbrellas and caps, braving the light drizzle at around 4pm on Saturday afternoon. Organisers had lined up a list of 12 speakers, including activists as well as current and former opposition party members.

The White Paper had drawn flak largely because of the 6.9 million headline population figure. The Government has strenuously emphasised that this number is a planning parameter, not a target.

The first speaker was National Solidarity Party member Ravi Philemon.

He revved up the crowd, asking if bringing in 900,000 to 1 million foreigners every decade was acceptable, to which they responded by shouting "No".

No official figures as to the size of the crowd were available although organisers claimed that nearly 5,000 people turned up. A report from wire agency AFP put the number at between 1,000 and 1,500.

Among those gathered was IT executive Mike Tan, 45 who came with his son, Yuan, 15.

He said: "The event is to say no to 6.9 million, and I want to show support."