Civic groups and pro-independence advocates yesterday took turns staging protests against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) at events he attended, pledging to rally against Ma on Double Ten National Day today and force him to face the public’s anger over the current political impasse.
Taiwan Independence Alliance held an anti-Ma protest in front of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters in Taipei yesterday afternoon as Ma was presiding over the weekly Central Standing Committee.
Earlier in the day, when Ma was attending a Double Ten National Day celebration with overseas Taiwanese at the Taipei Arena, the Citizen Alliance Against Ma Ying-jeou chanted: “Step Down Ma Ying-jeou” outside the arena.
Citizen Alliance Against Ma Ying-jeou spokesman Shen Chi-lin (沈志霖) said the group’s protests against Ma would continue today at Double Ten National Day celebrations around the capital, adding that the group will give out stickers and postcards with anti-Ma slogans this morning on Jinan Road.
“President Ma must listen to the people’s voice and understand our frustration, and stop blocking protests with heavy police force,” he said.
Late on Tuesday night, about 100 university students from across the country staged a surprise protest outside the Presidential Office Building, calling on Ma, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) to step down over a controversial cross-strait services agreement and a wiretapping controversy involving the Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.
After being forcibly removed by police at about 1am yesterday morning, the students returned to hold a sit-in.
The students, from National Taiwan University, National Cheng Kung University, National Tsing Hua University, Shih Hsin University, Da Yeh University, Soochow University and National Taiwan University of Arts, have formed a group that they called “Black Island National Youths Front.”
Holding up a giant banner that read: “Ma bumbler dictator, step down” in English, the students stood in front of the podium constructed for Double Ten National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Office Building at about 11pm on Tuesday night.
Taken by surprise, security personnel and police officers at first could only stand aside and watch, waiting for reinforcements.
“The tyrant that breaks the Constitution and abuses the people must step down,” protesters chanted at they faced an increasing number of police officers, who four times said their assembly was illegal and asked them to disband immediately.
The protesters responded by lying down, with their arms locked together.
A spokesman for the protest surnamed Chiang (江) accused the president and his administration of pushing through policies that favor businesspeople and China, while ignoring the suffering of the public.
He said that since Ma became president in 2008, there have been too many cases in which private land was seized by the government to benefit big corporations, the service trade agreement that could potentially harm Taiwan’s economy was signed in secret with China and the judiciary has illegally tapped telephone lines of members of the legislature.
“The government is preparing for the National Day celebrations, but we don’t know what’s the purpose of the celebrations when the people are suffering,” he said.
The protesters were forcibly removed by the police at about 1am, but returned within a short period and began a sit-in protest outside the Chang Jung-fa Foundation building down the street from the Presidential Office Building.
The sit-in was still ongoing at press time, and they vowed to continue until today.