The National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories (NAWCF) is planning to launch a new campaign seeking shoes that will be used in a protest due to be held near the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) national congress next month.
Following the KMT’s announcement that it will hold its 19th congress at Taichung Stadium in Greater Taichung’s Wuci District (梧棲) on Nov. 10, the alliance announced that it would launch a series of events to collect more shoes for demonstrators to throw, as well as rally support for the protest planned outside the stadium.
“Our first shoe-collecting event will be held at 6:30pm at Exit 6 of the Taipei MRT’s Ximending Station on Sunday,” NAWCF spokeswoman Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮) said. “After that, we will stage another shoe-collecting event in front of the Taoyuan Railway Station on Wednesday; followed by another the next day in front of Bank of Taiwan in Jhubei, Hsinchu County, at 5:30pm; then one in Miaoli County on Nov. 8; with the final event to be held in Greater Taichung on Nov. 9 — the day before the congress.”
The alliance is making final arrangements on the exact time and location for their Miaoli and Greater Taichung rallies with partner organizations, she said.
The group has collected more than 5,000 pairs of shoes during two collections in Taipei, Chen said.
She said she could feel the public’s anger toward the government and their passion for supporting the alliance when the group first started asking for footwear.
“When we were collecting shoes in Liberty Square in Taipei on Oct. 10, we saw people waiting there holding bags of shoes before the event even started,” Chen said. “A lot of people quietly left their shoes and told us to fight for them, you could feel that these people are just so disappointed by the government, but cannot do anything about it and they hope that we can help voice their discontent.”
Chen said a middle-aged woman brought a big bag of shoes and said that they were from her family.
“She told me that the shoes represent the anger of her entire family toward the government and said she wanted us to do something for them,” Chen said.
Other donors stayed to throw shoes at portraits of officials such as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and Labor Affairs Council Minister Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉).
“They were slamming the government as they threw the shoes, which were being thrown with such force they were breaking our booth,” she said.
Chen said the alliance will be in Greater Taichung to protest as the KMT congress takes place, but it is still discussing the details.
“Media reports say officials have designated protest areas, but the Greater Taichung Police Department told us that it was unaware of this when we called to inquire about the areas,” she said.