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PHOTOS: Thousands of Workers March for Rights across Southeast Asia

Global Voices reviews the May 1, 2013 Labor Day protests in Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore. The rallies, which were organized to echo the various demands of workers and advocacy groups, were relatively peaceful across the region.

In Cambodia, more than 6,000 garment workers were joined by students, NGOs, and urban poor residents in Phnom Penh City who marched from the Freedom Park to the National Assembly calling for living wages and improved working conditions.

Garment workers march in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo from Licadho

Garment workers march in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo from Licadho

Cambodian protesters near the National Assembly

Cambodian protesters near the National Assembly. Photo from Licadho

In this video uploaded by the Community Legal Education Center, the main demands and situation of Cambodian workers were summarized:

In Indonesia, thousands of workers marched in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta to commemorate Labor Day. Among their demands were the “fulfillment of the minimum wage, health insurance and safety for workers, as well as refusing outsourcing.”

Thousands of workers march in Jakarta. Photo by Ibnu Mardhani, Copyright @Demotix (5/1/2013)

Thousands of workers march in Jakarta. Photo by Ibnu Mardhani, Copyright @Demotix (5/1/2013)

Workers march in Jakarta during Labor Day. Photo by Ibnu Mardhani, Copyright @Demotix (5/1/2013)

Workers march in Jakarta during Labor Day. Photo by Ibnu Mardhani, Copyright @Demotix (5/1/2013)

In the Philippines, labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno is disappointed with the labor policies of the government:

We mark the 127th International Workers’ Day and its 110th celebration in the Philippines with a nationwide protest condemning the rabidly anti-worker and pro-capitalist regime of Pres. Noynoy Aquino.

Aquino has again rejected workers’ calls for a significant wage hike, the junking of contractual employment and a stop to trade-union repression. He has bragged about non-wage benefits and his government’s efforts at creating jobs.

Filipino workers march near the presidential palace demanding higher wages and rollback of prices. Photo from Facebook of Tine Sabillo

Filipino workers march near the presidential palace demanding higher wages and rollback of prices. Photo from Facebook of Tine Sabillo

Labor Day rally in the Philippines. Photo from Facebook of Tine Sabillo

Labor Day rally in the Philippines. Photo from Facebook of Tine Sabillo

Highlights of the Labor Day events in Manila were featured in this video uploaded by EJ Mijares:

In Singapore. Gilbert Goh of transitioning,org wrote about the historic Labor Day protest in Singapore:

We realised that we are also creating another piece of history in Singapore here as so far no one has managed to organise a labour day event from the ground up – ever and we are proud to be able to do so for the first time!

We may even contemplate doing an annual labour day protest from now on – like what many other countries have done for decades.

Thousands of Singaporeans assembled in Hong Lim Park on Labor Day. Photo from Facebook of Lawrence Chong

Thousands of Singaporeans assembled in Hong Lim Park on Labor Day. Photo from Facebook of Lawrence Chong

Singaporeans participate in historic Labor Day protest to air their views on the government's population policy paper. Photo from Facebook of Lawrence Chong

Singaporeans participate in historic Labor Day protest to air their views on the government's population policy paper. Photo from Facebook of Lawrence Chong

The event is a sequel protest to the February action which gathered thousands of Singaporeans opposed to the government’s population policy paper. In this video, Singaporeans explained their reasons for organizing and joining the action.

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