Sun, Oct 26, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Ralliers vent anger at Ma government

TAKING TO THE STREETS When night fell, protesters gathered along Ketagalan Boulevard shone an image on the Presidential Office that read ‘incompetent’

By Rich Chang, Jenny W. Hsu and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Protesters gather during a rally outside the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Floods of demonstrators took to the streets in Taipei City yesterday, venting their anger at the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and its policies, which they said threaten Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Protesters young and old marched under banners reading “Oppose toxic products, defend sovereignty,” “Defend Taiwan,” “I am Taiwanese, not Chinese” and “Taiwan is not part of China,” demanding that Beijing apologize to Taiwan for selling milk and other products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which cohosted the demonstration with the Taiwan Solidarity Union and a number of pro-localization groups, also accused Ma’s government of failing to stand up to China in the wake of the melamine scare.

“Ma is the devil, no doubt about it. It was not enough for him to denigrate himself as a mere regional head, he had to drag all of Taiwan down with him. He is nothing but the mastermind of a fraud ring,” said Chang Chung-wen (張瓊文), a drama teacher who spearheaded a skit ridiculing Ma’s government.

Donning a grim reaper mask and brandishing a flaming red pitchfork, a student from Chiayi City said he was playing the role of Ma, whom he called a demon for pushing Taiwan into hell by catering to China.

Tsai Chia-chun (蔡嘉俊), also from Chiayi, dressed as a poor doctor in a raggedy white coat said Ma was singlehandedly destroying the nation’s medical profession by allowing Chinese doctors to practice in Taiwan.

A Tainan County protester brought a homemade horse-shaped punching bag to the parade and welcomed anyone who believed Ma — whose name literally means “horse” in Chinese — was a traitor to vent their anger on the doll.

Liu A-fu (劉阿福), A 72-year-old man from Yunlin County who walked with the help of crutches, said: “Even if I had to crawl, I wouldn’t miss this parade because I must voice my disdain for Ma. I am too angry to just sit at home and do nothing about this incompetent government.”

Liu said that since Ma took office in May he has been worrying he would die penniless after losing most of his life savings as the stock market crashed over the last few months.

“Didn’t he promise that the economy would revive as soon as he became the president? The only wallets that have fattened since May are the ones belonging to the corrupt Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and Chinese communist officials,” he said.

A British protester — who declined to give his name, saying he feared the KMT government might deport him for participating in the rally — agreed with Liu, calling Ma “a big woman who lied to become the president.”

Some people declined to talk to the press, saying that they were afraid of a repeat of the KMT’s reign of “white terror” in the 1950s and that going on the record could put their families in danger.

Huang Jui-da (黃睿達) of Banciao (板橋) said even his dog would be a better president than Ma.

“At least the dog knows to attack bad people instead of inviting them in the house for tea,” Huang said.

The weak economy was also on the minds of the protesters.

“Taiwan’s economy is facing harsh times and the government can not do anything,” said Liu Tse-jun, a pregnant mother who brought her three children to join in the protest.

Event organizers estimated that more than 600,000 people took part in the rally, while Taipei police said they would not provide an estimate.

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