Sat, Feb 25, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Shida crackdown protest sees more businesses join

ACT OF PRAYER:Hundreds of restaurants and eateries at the night market intend to dim their lights for 30 minutes tonight and use glow sticks to pray for the area’s future

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Protests against a crackdown by the Taipei City Government on illegal businesses at the popular Shida Night Market continued yesterday, with a total of 400 restaurants and eateries, backed by a self-help organization, saying they would turn off the lights and electricity for half an hour tonight to “pray” for the survival of business in the area.

Participating restaurants and eateries plan to turn off the lights at 8pm tonight and said they would use fluorescent sticks to pray for the future of one of the city’s top tourist attractions.

“The protest will allow visitors and students to understand what it feels like if the night market is closed and the area is in the dark,” association spokesman Ker Yu-you (柯裕佑) said.

The move was followed by a smaller-scale protest on Thursday, in which 30 restaurants and eateries closed their doors during the lunch hour to raise public awareness of local businesses’ contributions to the area.

Ker said that of the 91 vendors who received notices from the city government about their illegal operations, more than 30 had shut down. About 30 other shop owners plan to move to other locations.

The local residents’ self-help association said it welcomed the protest.

Association director Liu Cheng-wei (劉振偉) reiterated the determination of area residents to demand that the city government evacuate illegal businesses in the area.

“Instead of lunch hours or half an hour, local residents hope that those illegal businesses can shut down forever ... There are plenty of legal businesses here and we don’t think it will cause any -inconvenience,” he said.

Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) yesterday reiterated the city government’s position on the crackdown on illegal businesses in the area.

Despite local vendors’ continued protests, Chang said the city government would demand that vendors improve conditions and follow regulations.

In addition to noise and air pollution, some vendors have also violated regulations as they are located in what are classified as residential zones. According to land-use regulations, roads less than 8m wide in residential zones cannot be used for commercial purposes.

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