Mon, Mar 30, 2015 - Page 1 News List

M503 protests target Ma at Martyrs’ Shrine event

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou, front row, fifth right, and other officials take part in a remembrance ceremony for air force officers killed in action at the air force cemetery in the Bitan area of New Taipei City’s Sindian District yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and other groups yesterday protested at the Martyrs’ Shrine in Taipei, condemning what it called the government’s silence as China’s M503 flight route entered service.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) attended an annual spring memorial service under tightened security as protesters held signs urging the government to protest to China over the air route.

Protesters mobilized by the TSU showed up about 100m from the main entrance to the Martyrs’ Shrine almost immediately after the presidential convoy drove into the complex.

Other groups were present, such as Restoration of Taiwan Social Justice (臺左維新), but most were kept hundreds of meters away from the complex.

The TSU-led protesters tossed rotten eggs and slippers over police officers who blocked their entry.

“When we threw paint at the presidential residence, the Presidential Office immediately released a statement condemning our protest as an ‘act of violence,’ and urged us to remain peaceful and rational,” TSU youth director Chang Chao-lin (張兆林) said through a megaphone. “However, when China displays its intention to violate Taiwan’s sovereignty, Ma does not dare to say anything.”

Chang criticized what he called the government’s acceptance when China announced that it would begin using the route, despite protests from Taiwan.

Hsu Ya-chi (許亞齊) echoed Chang and asked why the government once said that it was not happy with China’s unilateral designation of the route near the median line of Taiwan Strait, but eventually accepted it.

“If you are not happy, why would you accept it? The government is selling out Taiwan’s sovereignty,” he said.

The protesters attempted to move forward, leading to brief scuffles with police officers.

Two protesters broke through the police line, but were stopped by a second phalanx of officers.

Separately, two men attempted to ride their motorcycles into the Martyrs’ Shrine while shouting “Cancel M503” and “Down with Ma Ying-jeou.”

They were stopped by secret service agents and taken to a nearby military site for questioning.

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