Tens of Thousands Attend Anti-Government Protest on Taiwan National Day.

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Protesters hold flags and posters as they chant slogans during a demonstration on National Day on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013, in Taipei

Thousands of Taiwanese anti-government protesters gathered on the fringes of ROC carefully choreographed National Day celebrations on Thursday, waving banners and chanting slogans denouncing the policies of President Ma Ying-jeou.

The large-scale protests against his increasingly unpopular government were the first to dog the normally staid National Day observance since Mr Ma entered office in 2008.

Our Taiwan correspondant Sky Lee was able to ask a few questions of Professor Ting-Kuei Tsay, the leader of the Taiwan Referendum Alliance.

-What are the grievences of the protesters?
Ting-Kuei Tsay– The grievences of the protesters consist of continuation of building No. 4 nuclear power plant, improper and unjust taking lands from land owners, black-box signed agreement of trade service with China, unlawful tapping on congress members and citizens, ROC claiming Taiwan and China are not two different sovereign states.

-Who are the participants who protest?
Professor Tsay– The protesters are democracy activists, unlawful fired industrial workers, students, professionals such as medical doctors, lawyers, high-tech engineers, Taiwan independence advocates, etc.

-How long have the situations they are protesting been happening?
Professor Tsay– some of them have been on the street since Ma was elected into power, because Ma is pushing Taiwan to become part of China. Some of them came out since this past August after a drafted Taiwanese corporal was killed in the military, many students came out to stop government unjustly taking lands from farmers and landowners and protest the government for suing the workers and asking for repayment which is part of their retirement pensions. More recently, more people are coming out to show their disappointment about the unlawful tapping and asking for amendment of referendum and recall rights.

-Is the movement growing in popularity?
Professor Tsay– The movement is getting stronger and stronger while the popularity rate of Ma drops to a single digit of 9.2%.

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Protesters throw old shoes toward Presidential buildings to express disgust.

-How do other Taiwanese outside of the protesting group feel about the protest? Are they supportive?
Professor Tsay– The most recent poll showed yesterday that 72% of the poll believe that Ma is not suitable for his position any more. When Ma goes to other cities for official and private business, there are always huge group of people throwing shoes at him, although he has not hit yet under heavy police protection with a big bird net to block and catch the shoes. People are very supportive and wish that Ma should step down as soon as possible, rather to wait for the end of his term in 2016. The general consensus of the whole society is to impeach Ma soon in order to rescue the economy of Taiwan, before it is too late.

-Are the protests allowed by authorities? Do they ever face police aggression or repression?
Professor Tsay– Most of the protests tried to get permits from the authorities for assembly and demonstration, but not all of them. The main theme of the protests are under the disciplines of nonviolent actions. The protesters always tried to convince the police of staying as neutral as they can. One observation is frequent that police try to give as much room as possible if the protest can be controlled out of the eye sight of Ma. Personally, I believe that police has keep aggression and repression to the crowd as light as possible. In my opinion, police are waiting for a change of the political situation too.

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Activists holding placards with defaced images of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou march along a street to protest against Mr Ma's policies during National Day celebrations in Taipei on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013. Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered on the fringes of Taiwan's carefully choreographed National Day celebrations on Thursday, waving banners and chanting slogans denouncing the policies of Mr Ma. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Activists holding placards with defaced images of Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou march along a street to protest against Mr Ma’s policies during National Day celebrations in Taipei on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013. Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered on the fringes of Taiwan’s carefully choreographed National Day celebrations on Thursday, waving banners and chanting slogans denouncing the policies of Mr Ma. — PHOTO: REUTERS

 

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Jennifer Baker is the founder and editor of Revolution News - Contact us with inquiries, tips, corrections at - revnewsmedia@gmail.com