May Day protesters from the far right, far left and all shades in between took to streets around the world yesterday, some brimming with nationalist fervor, others calling for peace, jobs and a better environment. \nAnarchists, Trotskyists, trade unionists, anti-globalization activists, even sex workers, were out in force, but so were the army and police. \nAn opposition leader in Singapore was among dozens of individuals arrested in connection with protests across Asia. \nChee Soon Juan, the leader of the Singapore Democratic Party, was arrested after he tried to stage an illegal rally outside the presidential complex to mark Labor Day, police and witnesses said. \nChee was warned by police that he could not proceed with the rally without a permit and was shoved into a van amid protests from a crowd of about 15 when he went ahead. \nIn Germany, one woman was fighting for her life after violence marking May Day erupted in two leftist districts of Berlin. It began when a group of around 500 anarchists lit a large fire on a main street and then pelted the fire brigade with bottles and stones. \nPolice used water cannon against the demonstrators and hundreds of riot police moved in. Dozens of people suffered facial cuts from hurled bottles after what was planned as a peaceful anti-Nazi demonstration. \nScores of cyclists converged on the US embassy in London, blocking traffic at the start of anti-pollution and anti-capitalism protests which drew thousands of demonstrators to the British capital. \nAmid fears a hard core of activists were bent on violence, up to 6,000 police flooded the city and businesses boarded up their windows. \nAlmost every country in the world marks May day in one way or another, and the date is officially recognized by the UN as International Labor Day. \nIn other world capitals, trade unionists marched in more traditional May Day parades, calling for better workers' rights and an end to violence in the Middle East. \n"Long live international solidarity to Palestine," read a red banner in Syndagma Square in central Athens, where thousands of demonstrators had gathered. \nIn Australia, where trade unions still have much influence on government, police arrested dozens of people after scuffles broke out at a picket to protest against the country's immigration policies. \nAlthough thousands of people also staged peaceful labour demonstrations, union officials expressed concern their cause was being hijacked by fringe groups. \n"It's the traditional day of international solidarity for working people. The methods used to promote these other causes are a concern for us ... detract from May Day," said John Robertson, secretary of the New South Wales Labor Council. \nIn Moscow, pro-Kremlin parties and trade unions stole the show from the communists by staging an estimated 140,000-strong rally on the Red Square -- something the country has not seen since the Soviet days. \nPresident Vladimir Putin welcomed the demonstrators. In a message that was read out to the well-organized flower-waving crowd, he hailed the action by the unions and the Kremlin's key ally United Russia bloc as helping build a better future. \nThe communists held a rally nearby to demand an immediate government resignation. \nAuthorities in China, which once derided private enterprise as evil capitalism, showed just how much things had changed by canonizing entrepreneurs as "model workers," awarding special medals to successful businessmen. \nMalaysian authorities arrested 17 people in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, after labour activists marched through the city centre with banners calling for better rights for plantation workers. \n"May Day is an act of solidarity, recognized even by the state," organizers said. "The police action mocks fundamental rights of workers to assemble peacefully." \nIn Jakarta, more than 3,000 Indonesian workers were outnumbered by 7,000 police as they demanded the government renew its commitment to labor reforms and declare May 1 a national holiday, police said. At least 15 arrests were reported.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.