Sun, Apr 26, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Protest urges dome demolition

‘CORRUPTION-RIDDEN’:Demonstrators said that the Taipei Dome would attract large crowds and traffic, and that the city has too many department stores anyway

By Alison Hsiao and Sean Lin  /  Staff reporters

People call for the Taipei Dome to be demolished and the area turned into a park at a protest organized by environmental protection organizations in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

A year after the launch of a tree protection campaign around the construction site of Farglory Land Development Co’s Taipei Dome, a demonstration was held yesterday to call for the demolition of what protestors called the “corruption-ridden” dome.

Hundreds of people joined the demonstration, which was organized by the Songshan Tobacco Factory, the Tree Protection Volunteer Union, the Songshan Park Initiating Alliance and the Taiwan Tree Protection Alliance, and cosponsored by many activist groups.

It was a year to the day that campaigners began their struggle with Farglory, using their bodies to physically protect the trees on the sidewalks, obstructing excavators, the activists said.

“No to black-hearted corruption-ridden dome; no to collusion between the government and the corporation; give us back our forest park,” the protestors shouted during the demonstration.

Union policy group director Yu Yi (游藝) said that a department store and movie theater proposed for the site would attract large crowds and heavy traffic.

He added that there used to be more than 1,000 trees on the site, but 894 trees had been relocated by former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) administration in 2006.

He said the tree relocation began despite an environmental impact assessment (EIA) still awaiting approval by the city government, and that the EIA was initially rejected, but shortly afterward approved by Hau’s administration in what Yu said was “a drastic turn of events.”

The tree relocation was completed in February 2009, when a towering camphor tree more than 80 years old was uprooted and replanted in a space close to the tobacco factory, next to the dome’s proposed site, Yu said.

It died six months later, he said, pointing to the camphor tree’s now withered trunk, from which two banners hung, reading: “Death of the old camphor tree. Installation art by Hau Lung-bin.”

The crowd, led by Tree Protection Volunteer Union members on a truck with loudspeakers, began a march at 2pm on Guangfu S Road, next to the dome, walking through Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, passing by the Taipei City Hall Bus Station, hotels, department stores, National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei City Hall and Farglory’s Financial Center.

Surrounded by department stores on Zhongxiao E Road, a speaker on the leading truck said that Taipei has enough department stores.

“We will have a green park for all citizens and young children if the dome is demolished,” Yu said.

As the crowd passed by Taipei City Hall, a banner was placed on the ground in front of the building, reading: “Shielding the Big Corporations,” which marchers trampled on.

The protesters made a diversion to go by the front plaza of Farglory Financial Center, where demonstrators shouted and walked over a banner that read: “Put an end to the corruption-ridden dome.”

According to union speaker Chang Yueh-mei (張岳梅), the dome project’s base extends 20m underground, resulting in land subsidence in nearby buildings and causing cracking in remaining historic buildings on the Tobacco Factory’s site.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) recently said that a chimney on the site has become slanted due to the construction and that cracks could be seen on the facade of a former tobacco canteen and a pavement adjacent to the construction site on Zhongxiao E Rd yesterday.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top