Social activists yesterday estimated that about 1,000 people would gather at 10am today near the Taipei 101 building in the city’s central business district to protest against widening income disparity.
The event is part of a series of protests across the Asia-Pacific region as demonstrations organized on social media platforms are planned from Tokyo to Sydney, joining a protest in London as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The rallies that began on Sept. 17 in New York, where more than 700 people have been arrested, have already migrated across the US to cities including Denver, Boston and San Francisco.
According to statistics, there are 90,000 people in Taiwan with a fortune of more than NT$30 million (US$990,850).
Taipei 101 is the target because the Taiwan Stock Exchange’s headquarters, a symbol of capitalism in the eyes of the protesters, is located in the skyscraper, activists said.
As the Internet-originated event has no distinct leader to file a request to demonstrate, after negotiations with the Taipei 101 building’s security department it has been agreed that the demonstration will be held on the plaza in front of the building.
As long as the event does not disturb pedestrians and other visitors, the building’s security department would not interfere, Taipei 101 spokesperson Liu Chia-hao (劉家豪) said yesterday.
Liu said that the building would have increased security and that it would be working in tandem with police. He called on the protesters to exercise restraint and keep a level head.
In response to the event, Taipei Police Department’s Xinyi Precinct said it would not only reinforce traffic control in nearby roads, it would also have a unit of 40 police officers on standby.
The protest is set to begin at 10am with demonstrators gathering in a park near the side door of the Taipei 101 on Songzhi Road, the precinct said, adding that preliminary estimates were that about 200 to 300 people would join the gathering.
Then protesters then plan to “take over” the Taipei 101 building at 1pm by surrounding it with linked hands, according to the precinct, which added that if the event develops into a silent sit-in or a series of public speeches that infringe upon the rights of other citizens and it violates the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法), legal action would be taken.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer