Sun, Mar 09, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Women rally to protest Iraq war

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH CNA

Echoing other Women's Day rallies around the world yesterday, dozens of women's rights groups staged an anti-war protest in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday to voice their opposition to any US-led war on Iraq.

In a demonstration peppered with speeches, anti-war chants and songs, protesters -- most of them women -- ? rallied in front of the ministry to show their solidarity with Iraqi women as the US gears up for a war on Saddam Hussein's regime.

"We don't want war," said an aged Taiwanese woman who identified herself only as a former "comfort woman."

Protesters at yesterday's demonstration said history has shown that women and children are the most vulnerable victims of war.

As they marched to the Presidential Office, demonstrators displayed anti-war placards, including one English-language "No War" sign made of roses.

Demonstrators said that while President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration has stressed the universal value of human rights, it's time for the government to speak out against a war on Iraq.

Key organizers of the rally included Awakening Foundation, Women's Rescue Foundation, The Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters, among others.

Aboriginal lawmaker May Chin (高金素梅) was prominent among the protesters.

Meanwhile, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) encouraged Taiwan women to pay greater attention to international situations and to serve as "peace messengers" across the Taiwan Strait.

Lu made the remarks at a tea party held by Republic of China Women's Association to mark the Women's Day.

Pointing out that the looming military conflict between the US and Iraq might greatly change the international situation and provoke negative reactions from China and North Korea, the vice president claimed that the US might seek Beijing's support at the expense of Taiwan.

Against such a backdrop, a concerned Lu urged Taiwan women to play the role of "peace messengers" between the two sides whenever and wherever they visit China.

"No matter whether you go there for business, as a tourist or for family visits, you should relay the messages of peace, love and care to the Chinese people to let them know that Taiwan is not hostile toward the mainland and urge the Beijing leadership to dismantle its missiles targeting Taiwan's 23 million people," she said.

"Peace is built on concrete acts rather than slogans, and the women of Taiwan should try to play a more active role in their pursuit of peace with their wisdom, tenderness and mercy," Lu said.

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