Singapore soul searching follows migrant riot

Published by Al Jazeera English, Dec. 18, 2013

Deportations follow last week’s unrest in Little India as officials debate the best way to move forward.

By Tom Benner and Satish Cheney

Singapore – A heavy reliance on cheap foreign labour – and whether low-paid, low-status guest workers in this wealthy island-nation are treated fairly – is the cause for soul-searching and debate following a rare riot on December 8 in the Little India neighborhood.

The city-state will deport 53 people who were allegedly involved in the unrest.

Government officials blame alcohol for the riot – Singapore’s first in 44 years – which started after an Indian national was struck and killed by a bus that was ferrying foreign labourers from the Indian district to their dormitory-style living quarters. Some 400 people charged the bus and first responders, threw objects, and overturned police cars and damaged other vehicles, injuring 39 people and sending shock waves through the orderly, law-abiding country. Continue reading …

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