A parade is to be held in Kaohsiung on Saturday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Kaohsiung Incident, organizers said yesterday.
Sacrifices by people who fought for democracy, freedom and human rights in Taiwan must not be forgotten, Taiwan Friends Association director Huang Kun-hu (黃崑虎) told reporters in Taipei.
The incident started when the pro-democracy Formosa Magazine (美麗島雜誌) held a demonstration commemorating International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, 1979, in Kaohsiung, calling on the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government to respect human rights and demanding democracy.
Photo: Wu Chun-feng, Taipei Times
Within hours, the protesters were surrounded by scores of military police, while prominent leaders of the democracy movement were arrested. Several of them later went on to become leaders of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The incident is considered an important event in Taiwan’s transition to democracy.
“Let history be a lesson to all,” Huang said, urging people to cherish the nation’s hard-won democratic political system and free elections.
At the time of the incident, there was no freedom of speech and the government deemed the protest a revolt, said Linda Arrigo (艾琳達), a veteran democracy campaigner, human rights advocate and environmentalist.
However, it merely called for freedom, democracy and human rights in Taiwan, Arrigo said.
“Looking back at this stage of Taiwanese history and comparing it to what is going on right now in Hong Kong, I believe that many people here feel for the pro-democracy protesters there,” she said.
Saturday’s parade, jointly organized by the Defend Democracy Safeguard Taiwan Alliance, the Taiwan Society and several other civic groups, is to take place on the roads around the Formosa Boulevard Station of the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system.
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