The May Day March had a great turnout last Thursday! The morning was spent with various groups singing, dancing, performing dramas, giving solidarity messages. The gathering for the march started around 2pm in Victoria Park. Indonesians, Thais, Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Mainland Chinese and Nepalese Migrant Workers started grouping together. Banners were hoisted, flags waving in the breeze. Music could be heard from the Indonesian hand drums, the Chinese can drums, the beautiful Filipina voices. It was a slow march. With nearly 5,000 people, it was hard to keep a steady pace. Hundreds of policemen lined the sides of the streets as we made our way down to the Hong Kong Central Government Offices. There were some motorists, and even a few pedestrians, who were very obviously annoyed by the fact that our large, and growing, group slowed down their day. But more than those people, there were cheerful waves from children on sidewalks, Western tourists who would pull someone out of the march to ask what was going on, aging grandmothers leaning out of windows to wave her scarf. And so we marched.
We marched for all the Domestic Workers who are treated as modern day slaves, trapped in debt bondage and dangerous working conditions.
We marched against unjust policies that ban any Domestic Worker from ever seeking permanent residency in Hong Kong.
We marched against blatant discrimination against Nepalese workers who are banned from worker’s permits in Hong Kong.
We marched for women who send every hard earned dollar home, to only be forgotten and abused by their home government.
We marched for engineers who come from around the world, who are paid lower than their co-workers, and then arrested for “falsification” of their contract. As if it were their choice to accept lower wages.
We marched against unscrupulous agencies who overcharge by thousands of dollars, forcing the already poor migrants further into debt.
We marched against every employer who has ever exploited, abused or maltreated a domestic worker.
We marched for families separated by the need for work.
We marched for unity
We marched for peace
We marched in solidarity, not just with the Migrants here in Hong Kong, but with workers, Migrant or Local, all over the world, who are working and fighting for a livable wage, decent working hours and a safe working environment.