The Taiwan Rural Front (TRF) is scheduled to stage a rally on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office today, aiming to seek justice for victims of forced demolitions on the one-month anniversary of the tearing down of private homes in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔).
Titled “Give the Country Back to its People, the 818 Mission to Tear Down the Government,” the rally will be a two-part protest that includes a two-hour “Civil Disobedience Forum” and a one-hour “Mission to Tear Down the Government,” said Lin Le-xin (林樂昕), a member of the alliance.
The rally is to be held from 5pm to 8:30pm and will be followed by a “prolonged battle against the government” that could last up to two days, the alliance said, adding the protest is expected to attract 5,000 to 10,000 participants.
The alliance said efforts to design symbolic ways “to tear down the government” are still underway and that it plans to recruit 2,000 volunteers to carry out the plots.
Today’s rally follows a similar event in front of the Miaoli County Government on Friday evening, which saw 1,000 people singing to show support for the Dapu home-owners and throwing eggs at the building to express anger at the government.
Fifteen police officers were accidentally hit by eggs, including officer Chang Shih-hsiung (張世雄), who was rushed to a hospital after his right eyeball was injured by eggshell fragments.
Meanwhile, several landmarks in Taipei, including Liberty Square, Taipei Main Station, National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and the 228 National Memorial Park, early yesterday reported damage from graffiti slogans such as: “Give Back the Country to its People,” “A Nation Ruled by Evil” and “Tear Down the Government Today.”
Lee An-tzu (李安慈), a member of the TRF, said the graffiti was painted by individuals of their own accord and that the messages underlined the ruthlessness of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and the legality crisis it was facing.
“If people cannot tolerate the environment being damaged by graffiti, they surely cannot stand the government arbitrarily tearing down private houses for the sake of land speculation,” Lee said.
Meanwhile, public fury over the forced demolition of Dapu houses has also brought the nation’s indie musicians together to voice their discontent.
Among them are Lala Lin (林羿含), Adam Shen (沈柏耀) and Blake Liu (劉仕博), three young musicians who jointly founded the Taiwan Independent Musicians Street Union (樂團人街頭陣線) on Facebook on Aug. 10 as a gesture of support for the ongoing movement against government-backed demolition of homes. Their non-profit organization has attracted about 1,400 fans over the past week and has been the topic of online discussions among more than 6,600 netizens.
Stepping up their efforts, the trio on Thursday launched an online campaign calling on other singers to weigh in on the movement by being photographed while holding cardboard signs that read: “Today Dapu, Tomorrow the Government.”
As of press time, the campaign has received backing from nearly 30 bands, including black metal band Chthonic (閃靈樂團), alt-rock veterans Backquarter (四分衛) and political hip-hop group Kou Chou Ching (烤秋勤).
They also composed a dark, angry song, I’m With You (有我陪你), whose five-minute music video was made of pictures and videos showing angry protesters and saddened owners of the houses. The song calls on the public to join today’s rally and to use singing to comfort victims of the government’s arbitrary demolition of property.
“While musicians are usually the ones mobilized to join protests rather than being the initiators themselves, it feels good to be able to do more than just be ‘collateral damage’ at rallies,” said Lala Lin, 24, referring to protesters who are quickly carried away by police after chanting slogans.
Additional Reporting by Peng Chien-li, Tsai Cheng-min and Hsieh Wen-hua