Sun, Aug 20, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Taipei Universiade: Protests dominate first day of Games

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Opponents of pension reform yesterday clash with police at the intersection of Dunhua N and Bade roads near the Taipei Municipal Stadium.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Several groups, including opponents of pension reform, yesterday staged protests outside the Taipei Municipal Stadium during the Summer Universiade opening ceremony.

Hundreds of pensioners rallied at Meiren Park before setting out on a march around the barricaded stadium, during which they shouted slogans demanding that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) step down.

Tainan Police Fraternity members blasted air horns near an entrance just as people started arriving at the stadium. They broke through a police line to march down Beining Road in an attempt to approach the venue.

“We are not the ones who blocked this off, you are,” fraternity executive secretary Chen Ching-tsung (陳金宗) said after police blocked the marchers.

Protestors said they wanted to “cheer for the Republic of China team” and scuffled with police before joining other groups in a march around the cordoned-off security zone.

Police erected barriers along both sides of Dunhua, Bade and Nanjing roads.

“We are not interfering with the event site — there should not be anything wrong with protesting outside,” said Taiwan Veteran Rights Protection Association president Huang Cheng-chung (黃正忠), one of the protest organizers, adding that organizers wanted to attract Tsai’s attention.

“We want to make sure President Tsai does not feel good because she caused us a lot of suffering,” Taiwan Education Retirees Association director Alice Wu (吳錦秀) said, referring to pension cuts passed in June. “Many foreigners have come here and we want them to know how the government treats its soldiers, teachers and civil servants.”

Pensioners were not the only group staging protests outside the stadium.

A group of Tibetans draped in their national flags protested “illegal Chinese expansion” meters away from Chinese Unification Promotion Party members waving the Chinese flag.

Green-and-white symbolic “Taiwan” flags were a common sight outside the stadium, as members of the pro-independence Taiwan Radical Wings Party rallied to promote their cause.

Several thousand of the flags were printed using donations from Taiwanese living in the US, the party’s publicity and public opinion department deputy directory Joyce Lin (林春妙) said.

While the right to carry the flags into the venue caused contention after the Taipei City Government banned political materials other than the Republic of China flag, enforcement was lax with numerous people carrying the flags past police officers and into the stadium, while one woman was required to discard her flag.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) yesterday reported that Taipei police decided it would not tolerate any such flags as they contain explicitly political messages such as “Taiwan is not the Republic of China.”

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