PICTURES

Third Population White Paper protest draws smaller crowd

Several hundred people showed up at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner yesterday for the third protest against the Population White Paper that had stirred widespread unhappiness with its planning parameter of a 6.9 million population in 2030. &nbs
Several hundred people showed up at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner yesterday for the third protest against the Population White Paper that had stirred widespread unhappiness with its planning parameter of a 6.9 million population in 2030.  -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO
Several hundred people showed up at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner yesterday for the third protest against the Population White Paper that had stirred widespread unhappiness with its planning parameter of a 6.9 million population in 2030. &nbs
Several hundred people showed up at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner yesterday for the third protest against the Population White Paper that had stirred widespread unhappiness with its planning parameter of a 6.9 million population in 2030.  -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO
Several hundred people showed up at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner yesterday for the third protest against the Population White Paper that had stirred widespread unhappiness with its planning parameter of a 6.9 million population in 2030. --&n
Several hundred people showed up at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner yesterday for the third protest against the Population White Paper that had stirred widespread unhappiness with its planning parameter of a 6.9 million population in 2030. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO
Several hundred people showed up at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner yesterday for the third protest against the Population White Paper that had stirred widespread unhappiness with its planning parameter of a 6.9 million population in 2030. -- P
Several hundred people showed up at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner yesterday for the third protest against the Population White Paper that had stirred widespread unhappiness with its planning parameter of a 6.9 million population in 2030. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO

Several hundred people showed up at Hong Lim Park's Speakers' Corner yesterday for the third protest against the Population White Paper that had stirred widespread unhappiness with its planning parameter of a 6.9 million population in 2030.

The crowd size was significantly smaller than the crowds at the first two protests earlier this year in February and May.

Rally organiser Gilbert Goh said that he was personally disappointed. When asked in a question-and-answer session at the end of the protest why attendance fell, he said that some Singaporeans may have been pacified by the Government's recent moves to tighten the influx of foreign workers and to raise social spending.

He said that yesterday's protest would be the final one against the Population White Paper, but that he plans to organise similar events every May Day.

The six speakers - among them an architect, a retiree and several bloggers - emphasised that their anger was not directed at foreigners, but at the People's Action Party's lax immigration policy.

Interior designer Daryl Tan, 22, who made headlines when he, dressed in a punk outfit, held up a placard with the words "Singapore for Singaporeans" at the first protest, said that his message has been misunderstood by many.

"My message of 'Singapore for Singaporeans' was meant for the PAP, not directed at foreigners here," he said, adding that many foreigners contribute to the country.

This distinction was also made by Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan, who showed up with SDP supporters after their party conference, in the third hour of the protest.

He was not one of the scheduled speakers, but took the stage to cheers.