Mon, Sep 30, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Tens of thousands rally against Ma

POSTAL PROTEST:Dismissal letters were distributed to protesters who were asked them to sign and mail them to the Presidential Office as an expression of their anger

By Chris Wang, Loa Iok-sin, Tsai Ching-hua and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters and Staff writer

“Politicians should pay for the government’s killings,” the runners and the people chasing them chanted as they ran through the streets surrounding the hall.

“The running competition is meant to mock Ma and the KMT for running away and hiding from the public by canceling the KMT congress originally scheduled for today [yesterday] at National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall,” Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮), spokeswoman for the National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories (NAWCF), told the crowd.

“They eventually decided to postpone the event after civic groups announced their plan to hold a massive demonstration outside the memorial hall as the meeting took place,” she said.

“They can hide from the people for now, but they can’t hide forever — wherever and whenever they are going to hold their national congress, we will make sure to be there,” Chen said.

Taiwan International Workers’ Association policy researcher Wu Yung-yi (吳永毅) echoed Chen, saying that if the KMT is holds its national congress at the Chungshan Building on Yangmingshan, as some media outlets have reported, “we will lie down on Yangde Boulevard that leads up to the building.”

Taiwan Rural Front (TRF) secretary-general Frida Tsai (蔡培慧), accused Ma and other government officials of abusing the power that the people have given them, and called on the public to take part in flash mob shoe-throwing protests.

“We the people have given government officials the power, expecting that they will solve the nation’s problems for us, that young people will have jobs and that the elderly can enjoy their retirements,” Tsai said. “However, they have failed to meet our expectations. They tore down private homes and seized private lands to benefit big corporations. They are more interested in political infighting than solving the rising unemployment rate and caused the deaths of innocent people. It is therefore justified that people throw shoes at them in protest.”

“From now on, if you happen to see them, make your shoes into weapons,” Tsai added.

The groups also called for shoe donations to prepare for future protests, and people responded by bringing bags of old shoes to donate to the groups.

“We the people must stick together to kick Ma out of power,” Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan convener Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) said. “He would have nowhere to go if the people stand united.”

Meanwhile, the NAWCF also held a brief memorial service for union members who they say have lost their lives due to government actions, as well as workers who have died as the result of overwork.

“All of us who are alive should never give up, we must remember the struggle of those who have died and carry on until we make meaningful changes to the system,” TRF member Hsu Po-jen (許博任) said.

Protests were also held in the south yesterday afternoon, where the Anti-Ma Southern Citizens’ Alliance to Save Taiwan and several local groups also staged a rally in Greater Kaohsiung to echo their northern counterparts’ calls for the president’s immediate resignation.

The rally departed from the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit’s (KMRT) Central Park Station at 3pm and was attended by residents from 11 townships and districts from Greater Kaohsiung, Pingtung County and Penghu.

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