Organizers say 350,000 people will attend protests calling for the president's ouster today, while law enforcement officials yesterday said they have made adequate preparations to ensure that the event is peaceful and reminded participants of their obligation to conduct themselves lawfully.
Police officials said that should there be any violations of the law, the permit for the protest will be suspended and the crowd will be dismissed immediately.
"The organizers of the activity have signed a statement saying they will ensure that participants of the activity will follow the law. If there are any violations, the police will immediately enforce the law, suspend the permit and dismiss the crowd," said Lee Chin-tien (李金田), director of the Taipei City Police Department's Zhongzheng First Precinct.
Lee made the remarks during a press conference yesterday.
The statement that the protest organizers signed said that participants may not use horns or loud-speakers between 10pm and 7am and may not disrupt traffic during rush hours; that no lethal weapons or flammable items are allowed at the scene; and that protesters must disperse no later than midnight next Saturday.
Lee said that the precinct's 514 officers will be the main police force maintaining public order during the protest, which will be held from today to next Saturday. If more staff is needed, officers from the Zhongzheng Second Precinct will join the force upon request at any time.
"Another 2,300 officers from the department's other precincts will be standing by in case things get out of hand," said Wang Yung-hui (王永惠), deputy commissioner of the Taipei City Police Department.
Wang also said that the police would be flexible, because they were not able to collect sufficient information about how many participants will show up.
According to Jerry Fan (范可欽), spokesman for the campaign, approximately 350,000 people will participate in the sit-in, and the protest area may expand from Ketagalan Boulevard to Jianguo S Road.
Former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), the organizer of the campaign, will begin the event after delivering a speech against corruption at 3pm in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard.
He will then lead the crowd in marching in circles around Jing Fu Men (
Protesters will be asked to sit down and remain silent at about 6pm, and a "special guest" will give a musical performance at 9pm, Fang said.
The camp also said the expected 350,000 protestors would read a "Million Voices Against Corruption Pledge" together at 6pm.
"I am attending the Million Voices Against Corruption movement," the pledge runs, according to organizers. "I promise to dedicate myself to democracy. I will join this sit-in with conscience and dignity."
"Anti-corruption and demanding A-bian to step down are my beliefs. I will not tolerate any violence or ethnic issues getting involved. I will try my best to show the strength of silent resistance and set a good example for future generations," the pledge continues.
Chang Fu-chung (
"The sit-in is a civic movement. People are showing their willpower to fight against corruption and President Chen. It's not a carnival or a show," he said at the camp's headquarters.
He added that anyone is welcome to attend the sit-in, which will include musical performances and an attempt to invoke Peru's Nazca Lines by forming a "human writing compass" visible from the air.
Police said that they were expecting a peaceful demonstration, but added that they have basic plans for different scenarios: Plan A for a normal, peaceful situation and Plan B if the situation requires a more robust police response. The First Precinct's Lee will be the commander for Plan A, and the department's Commissioner Wang Cho-chun (
"If that happens, we will seal areas within Zhonghsiao W Road, Bo-ai Road, Linsen S Road and Ai-kuo E Road," Wang said. "If this is the case, an additional 1,300 officers from nine precincts will participate in the force, while another 1,000 officers from the National Police Agency will be standing by."
As for traffic control, the department's Traffic Police Corps Captain Chen Ming-cheng (
For Traffic Plan A, three lanes of the Ketagalan Boulevard between Zhongshan S Road (
For Traffic Plan B, the closed-down area would be enlarged from the section between Zhongshan S Road and Gongyuan Road to Zhongshan S Road and Chongqing S Road (重慶南路), but traffic on Gongyuan Road would remain. In the meantime, no traffic would be allowed on Huaining Street (懷寧街) between the Guiyang Street (貴陽街) and Baoqing Road (寶慶路).
"[Traffic] Plan C will be the bottom line," Chen said. "If this plan is carried out, no traffic will be allowed within the area of Linsen S Road, Chongqing S Road, Aiguo E Road and Zhongxiao W Road." In the meantime, the traffic police said that no traffic should be affected if officers only have to carry out Plan A.
However, 17 bus lines would have to be re-routed if Plan B is carried out, while 51 buses would have to be re-directed if Plan C becomes effective.
Meanwhile, the major Chinese-language newspapers all reported that approximately 6,000 to 7,000 military police were set to be deployed to help the police as necessary.
Military police commander Lieutenant General Lu Tai-sheng (
"The military police always stay alert for major events, occasions or activities that concern public order. There is nothing remarkable about it," Lu said.
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,
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.
CHASTISING CHINA: Taiwan’s approach to combating the coronavirus stands in stark contrast to the country where the outbreak began, the US health secretary said International organizations are not the place to play politics, especially when the matter relates to healthcare, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said in Taipei yesterday, adding that the region and the world are safer because of Taiwan’s commitment to health promotion. On the third day of his visit, the highest-level visit by a senior US Cabinet official in decades, Azar met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) at the Grand Mayfull Hotel in Zhongshan District (中山) yesterday morning, following his meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)