Hundreds of thousands of people yesterday took to the streets to call for Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) removal from office.
Shouting slogans such as “Recall Han Kuo-yu,” “Liberate Kaohsiung” and “Hang in there, Taiwan,” the group set off from the Kaohsiung Cultural Center at about 2pm and marched toward the waterfront in Yancheng District (鹽埕).
The protesters formed a human snake stretching nearly 1km along Wufu First Road, aerial images showed.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Some carried banners or wore clothing bearing text, such as one that criticized the city’s economic performance since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayor took office, despite his promise to “make people rich.”
A demonstrator carried a poster admonishing Han for almost never being in the city, as he frequently travels to other parts of Taiwan for his presidential campaign.
Some protesters said it was their first time participating in a demonstration, adding that they “could no longer stand to see [Han] showing so little concern for his poor performance.”
Because of the scope of the demonstration, participants were divided into nine groups, each with their own leader, said social advocacy group Wecare Kaohsiung, which organized the march.
The groups included Wecare members led by founder Aaron Yin (尹立), the Taiwan Statebuilding Party’s Kaohsiung chapter led by chapter director Lee Hsin-han (李欣翰), a group supporting Hong Kong’s democracy movement led by Hong Kong student representative Tang Chun-yu (鄧俊儒) and a group led by Democratic Progressive Party Kaohsiung City Councilor Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成).
It is crucial to remember the sacrifices made to achieve democracy in Taiwan after the 40th anniversary of the Formosa Incident, Wecare said.
The incident, also known as the Kaohsiung Incident, refers to a crackdown by the then-KMT regime on a rally organized by Formosa Magazine and opposition politicians on Dec. 10, 1979, to mark Human Rights Day. It is considered an important turning point in the nation’s democratization.
“Thank you for being with us to the end of this demonstration, which is also the start of Han’s removal from office,” Yin told the crowd after taking the stage as the demonstration concluded in the evening.
Kaohsiung residents have been lied to every day for the past year, Yin said, adding that Han has taken advantage of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選罷法), which protects elected officials from being recalled in their first year in office.
Han has used the immunity afforded to city council members to defame others, and used his constitutionally protected right of assembly to organize a counterprotest in the afternoon, Yin said.
“Today, 500,000 of us are standing here together, demonstrating our trust in democracy and our belief in our own ability to effect change,” he said.
Wecare would send a petition to the Central Election Commission on Thursday to call for Han to be recalled, he said.
At least one-10th of city residents would need to support the petition, and at least one-quarter of them would need to vote in favor of a recall for the process to succeed, he said.
Additional reporting by Hung Chen-hao, Fang Chih-hsien and Wang Shu-hsiu.
SOLVED: Domestic orders have already overtaken the total sold to China last year, while the Canadian and US representative offices posted messages of support A joint effort by groups and individuals in Taiwan and abroad to prop up sales of pineapples after China announced a ban on imports of the fruit succeeded in just four days, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday. China on Friday announced that it would suspend imports of Taiwanese pineapples starting on Monday, citing biosafety concerns. Following the announcement, the council urged the public to assist farmers by purchasing pineapples, saying it hoped to sell 20,000 tonnes of the fruit domestically and 30,000 tonnes in exports. “Domestic orders have already surpassed the total sold to China last year,” COA Minister
‘UNFRIENDLY’: COA Minister Chen Chi-chung said that Beijing probably imposed the sanction because the pineapple production season is about to start in Taiwan More than 99 percent of pineapples sold to China passed inspections, the government said yesterday, after China earlier in the day abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from the nation, which Taipei called an “unfriendly” move. From Monday, China is to stop importing pineapples from Taiwan, the Chinese General Administration of Customs said. The regulation is a normal measure for ensuring biosafety, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said in a news release later yesterday. Since last year, Chinese customs officials have repeatedly seized pineapples imported from Taiwan that carried “perilous organisms,” Ma said. Were the organisms to spread in China, they would
Taiwanese netizens and politicians yesterday mocked a Chinese plan to build a transportation network linking Beijing and Taipei, calling it “science fiction” and “daydreaming.” Their comments were in reaction to the Chinese State Council’s release last week of its “Guidelines on the National Comprehensive Transportation Network Plan,” which include several proposed transportation links, with one map showing a line running from China’s Jingjinji Metropolitan Region (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei) across the Taiwan Strait to Taipei. “This is the Chinese leadership daydreaming again of [fulfilling its] fantasy of extending China’s transportation network to Taiwan. I suggest people regard it as science fiction,” Democratic Progressive
‘ONE PERSON PER UNIT’: People undergoing home isolation cannot stay in a housing unit in which non-isolated people live, unless they have special approval Starting tomorrow, people under home isolation would be required to follow the “one person per housing unit” rule if in private housing, or stay at a quarantine hotel or centralized quarantine facility, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the rules require people under home quarantine to be quarantined with one person per housing unit, or at a quarantine hotel or centralized quarantine facility. “Starting on March 1, individuals under home isolation will also be subject to the ‘one person per housing unit’ rule,” he said. “We