Sun, Mar 10, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Nation take to streets against nuclear power

LOUD AND CLEAR:Citing the highest crowd figures in the history of the nation’s anti-nuclear movement, organizers said the events showed people’s concern

By Lee I-chia, Loa Iok-sin and Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporters

Hsu said that having suffered a nuclear disaster, the Fukushima farmers asked him to bring back a message to Taiwanese. “They wanted me to warn everyone in Taiwan about the dangers of nuclear power and wanted the public in Taiwan to work hard to push for abolishing nuclear power,” Hsu said.

Meanwhile, the Humanistic Education Foundation set up portraits of lawmakers who voted to approve additional budget for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and asked demonstrators to place recall ballots into boxes.

“We will deliver the ballots to the lawmakers’ offices to tell them that we are serious about launching a recall campaign if they do not take back their support for nuclear energy,” a host at one the booths said.

At a crossroad on Zhonghua Road (中華路) near Ximending (西門町), an area often crowded with young people on weekends, members of the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association gave short lectures on information related to nuclear disasters as crowds passed.

“Here, where you are standing, we are only 28.2km, 25.6km and 41.9km away from the nation’s three operational power plants, so we are actually very close to them,” said Lu Shih-wei (陸詩薇), an attorney from the alliance.

At another stop on the march, a young woman stood on a stool holding pictures of child victims of the Chernobyl, Ukraine, nuclear disaster. Born in 1986, the year of the Chernobyl disaster, she said it was her destiny to be campaign against nuclear power.

Marchers could also sign postcards demanding: “people’s freedom from the fear of consuming radiation-contaminated food,” which were designed to be sent to the Department of Health (DOH).

The Homemakers United Foundation and the Raging Citizens Act Now also cordoned off an area with yellow warning tape and attached pictures of radiation-contaminated food to it. There were also placards detailing how human organs might be affected by nuclear radiation.

A special event was staged at 4pm when more than 300 volunteers stretched a 5km long yellow warning tape across an area surrounding the Presidential Office, symbolizing that everyone in the area would be forced to evacuate if a nuclear disaster occured.

While police estimates of crowd sizes were not immediately available, the event’s organizers said they estimated that 200,000 people took part in nationwide demonstrations — with about 100,000 participants in Taipei, 70,000 in Greater Kaohsiung and unspecified numbers in Greater Taichung and Taitung City — hailing them the biggest crowd numbers in the history of anti-nuclear demonstrations in the country.

An evening rally began at 6:30pm on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office that included lectures and performances by Taiwanese bands and artists.

The rally went on into the night with broadcasts of anti-nuclear films, talks by film directors, short plays by performance artists as well as unplugged musical performances.

The Taipei demonstration was slated to end this morning with an anti-nuclear flag ceremony at 8am.

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