Also inside the museum were about 10 people from the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, who chanted “Chen Yunlin, get out,” “Ma Ying-jeou, step down,” “Hold a referendum on the ECFA [Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement]” and “Taiwan and China are two countries on each side of the Taiwan Strait.”
Other protesters included five students from National Yang-ming University, who demanded that China release dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波).
Guo Ling-feng (郭凌峰) said the five wanted to show that Taiwan and China are different because they can protest here, but their Chinese counterparts cannot.
They also wanted to express the “true voice” of their generation because the administration seemed reluctant to take a stance on the matter, he said.
Outside the museum, a group of protesters held up signs saying: “One Taiwan, One China” and “Protect Taiwan.”
About 100 Falun Gong practitioners held a silent protest as well, calling on China to stop prosecution of Falun Gong followers.
Three Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors also protested outside the museum, and others said they planned to protest today.
Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said he decided to release pigeons after learning that several key agreements, including ones on cross-strait investment protection and judicial assistance, would be left off today’s agenda.
“If Chen Yunlin doesn’t understand what ‘releasing pigeons’ (放鴿子) means in Taiwan, he should Google it,” Chuang said.
The term is commonly used to symbolize a failure to show up at an event.
Police had initially hoped to contain the protests at the museum, which was not as heavily guarded as the Grand Hotel, to the main entrance. However, many protesters were able to enter the museum as regular visitors, although they failed to reach Chen or his delegation.
The police presence was visibly more relaxed compared with Chen’s first visit in 2008, when police officers confiscated ROC flags and several protesters complained of police brutality.
Two brief clashes were reported yesterday, although no one was injured and Chen’s motorcade passed by hundreds of ROC flags enroute from the airport to his hotel and then to the museum.
Despite earlier reports that more than 2,000 police officers had been mobilized as part of Chen’s security arrangements, National Police Administration officials said only 200 officers had been deployed. However, DPP Taipei City Councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏 said the figure did not include reserve and back-up squads.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus urged DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to keep her party’s supporters under control and to protest rationally.
KMT caucus secretary--general Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏) voiced concern about venue security, while KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) urged the DPP to show manners during this week’s talks and not turn the nation into a laughingstock.
“It is true that we all enjoy our rights to protest, but what would people think of us if something happens to Chen Yunlin during his stay in Taiwan?” KMT caucus deputy -secretary-general Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) asked, urging the DPP and other demonstrators to refrain from making provocations.
Meanwhile, hotel guests and National Palace Museum visitors should expect to come under strict questioning from police before being allowed entry into the either facility today and tomorrow.