Thu, Apr 24, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Protests back anti-nuclear hunger strike

PARTICIPATION:Although protests can inconvenience the public, anti-nuclear activists must continue because the government never seems to listen, a civic group said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Anti-nuclear activists clash with police during a protest in front of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) headquarters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Following the start of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung’s (林義雄) hunger strike on Tuesday to force the government to terminate the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, groups and activists across the nation yesterday supported his cause by staging protests.

In front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday morning, Anti-nuclear Alliance of Fathers executive director Kobe Chih (池國平) announced that following an anti-nuclear road-running event planned for Saturday morning, the group will invite about 3,000 people to form the words “NO NUKE NOW” in English at about 9am on Ketagalan Boulevard.

The 7km “run away from nuclear energy” race organized by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), Anti-nuclear Alliance of Fathers and the DPP, was rescheduled for 7am on Saturday and is to start and end on Ketagalan Boulevard.

“If President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government does not want to be encircled by barricades or by the public, it should start communicating soon,” Chih said, adding that the group will occupy Ketagalan Boulevard until it receives an acceptable response from the government.

TEPU secretary-general Andy Tung (董建宏) said there are three legal ways to terminate the construction of the pact in Gongliao (貢寮), New Taipei City, — the Executive Yuan proposes a plan supported by the legislature; the legislature initiates a resolution and the Executive Yuan does not table a reconsideration motion against it; or the Referendum Act (公民投票法) is amended to address the aspects of it seen as unreasonable so the public can decide on the issue through a fair vote.

“We and many [non-governmental] organizations are actively striving for reconciliation between the government and the public, but if the government refuses to reconcile, is that not declaring a war against the public?” he said.

Chih said social movements can inconvenience the public, but the activists have no option but to continue using various protest measures to express their opinions, because the government never seems to listen, see or respond to its citizens’ demands.

At noon, about 200 people organized by the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform rallied in front of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) headquarters in Taipei, before the party held its Central Standing Committee meeting at 1pm.

Green Citizen Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said the government has been saying that “the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will not operate without ensured nuclear safety and a referendum,” but the current nuclear plant safety inspection mechanism is flawed.

Calling the government’s safety inspection mechanism fraudulent, he said the safety inspections will not conclude that the plant is “unsafe” because if Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) finds any problems in its test runs, it can discuss them with reactor designer General Electric Co to find “alternative solutions,” and easily pass newly amended standards for the inspections.

Hung said that while an opinion poll showed that more than 70 percent of people are in favor of aborting the construction of the plant, Ma and top KMT officials are still trying to make it operational by lying to the public about its safety.

Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries organizer Liu Nien-Yun (劉念雲) said: “Civic discussions on public issues recently have shown that the public may have more in-depth knowledge on certain issues than policymakers,” but the government has always avoided civic participation.

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