Wed, Oct 12, 2011 - Page 2 News List

‘Occupy Taipei’ set for Saturday

FOREIGNERS ALLOWED:An organizer said she checked with the NIA and was told non-Taiwanese would only be detained if violence or vandalism occurred during the protest

Staff Writer, with CNA

Protesters plan to gather at Taipei 101 on Saturday to join other people around the world in staging their own version of the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration that has continued throughout the US for almost a month.

The protest will be a peaceful gathering and will take the form of a group discussion outside the landmark skyscraper, initiators said.

They are hoping the first “Occupy Taipei” action, which was initiated on Facebook, will attract at least 1,000 people.

“Together we want to stand up and make a change in the world — a bit of the world — for everybody,” said Kimba Vetten, a South African who is one of the initiators of the protest.

Occupy Wall Street began on Sept. 17 in New York and had since spread to other cities in the US and beyond in protest against social and economic inequalities as well as corporate greed.

Although the Taiwanese economy is not as bad as those of the US or Greece, there are still things that could be done to make it better, said Vetten, who lives in Yilan County with her husband and two children, aged eight and 11.

She said the organizers, formed via the Web, has encountered some problems of misinformation.

Someone was spreading a rumor on the “Occupy Taipei” Facebook page that foreigners who join such a protest could face the risk of detention or deportation, Vetten said. This has led to fear among people who want to attend the event, she said.

However, Vetten said, she checked with the National Immigration Agency (NIA) and was told that arrests would be made only in the case of violence or vandalism.

“I don’t think anything bad will happen because the people who are going all have the same idea — it’s a peaceful thing toward change. There’s no hatred,” she said.

So far, more than 3,100 people have “liked” the Facebook page and about 1,000 have said they planned to attend, Vetten said.

However, she said, the actual number is likely to be higher as the information is being spread via other Internet channels and by means of pamphlet handouts on the street.

“But I’d be happy if we only have 100 people, you know, because we have already started,” she said.

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