There was very heavy traffic going to Jebel Ali side of Dubai early this week which was caused by laborers mostly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh protesting in the streets demanding a 200 dirham (approx. $55) increase in their current salary of 600 dirhams per month (approx. US$166). They also complained of their accommodation, living condition and the fact that they have to pay for their visas to get here.
Residents near the area said police sirens can be heard everywhere and in no time, the protesters were back in their shabby labor camps, fenced in with barbed wires more like caged animals than human beings. I can’t believe this is happening in 2007.
These men are the ones making the Dubai dream happen and giving it shape and form. Now, the news says they are to be deported and face a lifetime ban from entering UAE again. I hope they go home and tell the others who attempt to drown in debt just to go abroad, that life in Dubai as a laborer is not worth it. The streets are not paved in gold.
Update: The protest ended, the laborers arrested. In one forum I read one lady said, “The government of Dubai may not care if 1,000 Indians march down the streets but I wonder what 1,000 white Westerners protesting in the middle of the highway would do though.”
CNN also covered a story on this.