Thousands of workers, students and social activists yesterday threw eggs toward the Presidential Office in Taipei during a protest about various economic and social issues, after launching five parades across the city.
“Fuck the government. It’s garbage,” thousands of demonstrators assembled on Ketagalan Boulevard chanted in unison as they moved toward the Presidential Office.
As they reached police barricades that stopped them about 300m away from the Presidential Office building itself, they began to throw eggs.
Photo: AFP, Mandy CHENG
Thousands of eggs were thrown over the barricades, accompanied by angry shouts, cheers and whistles.
Zhongzheng First Precinct Police Chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧), the commander of the police force at the scene, immediately declared that egg-throwing violated the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) and asked the crowd to stop or to disband.
However, the protesters continued and soon the ground was covered with egg yolk and cracked eggshells.
Prior to the rally in front of the Presidential Office, the demonstrators had marched across the city in five parades, each representing a social dilemma — including “merchandization” of education, racial discrimination, forced land seizures, a development-oriented economy and deteriorating social insurance systems.
“The demonstration today is a demonstration for all members of the working class and incorporates issues concerning education, environmental protection, agriculture and racial discrimination,” longtime labor activist Lin Tzu-wen (林子文) told the crowd. “In recent years, the government has been leaning more and more toward capitalists, while overlooking the suffering of the general public. It’s time for us to remind them to pay more attention to the people, not the few.”
Taiwan International Workers Association spokesman Hsu Chia-chuan (許家雋) said the government’s recent economic policies sought to trim labor costs by weakening protections for blue-collar foreign workers, while relaxing restrictions on white-collar foreign workers.
“This is not only racial discrimination, but also class discrimination,” Hsu said.
Some of the policies the government is mulling include lowering the threshold on businesses hiring foreign workers and excluding blue-collar foreign workers from the minimum wage.
“So many different groups concerned about different issues are assembled here, because we all face one core issue — the right-wing tendency of this government,” Raging Citizens Act Now spokesperson Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) said.
She said the government was turning education into a commodity, making it increasingly expensive to go to school.
She also said the government was trying to import more cheap labor from overseas, exploiting foreign and domestic workers alike to benefit big business.
“The government is seizing farmland to make way for factories once big corporations demand it. The government is allowing industrial tycoons to expand capacity at expense of the environment,” she said. “Because the government predicts that the labor insurance fund may collapse within two decades, the solution it comes up with is to ask workers to pay higher premiums, accept lower pensions and retire at an older age, while it continues to give tax breaks and other favorable measures to capitalists.”
A retired manager of a Taipei-based trading company surnamed Chang (張) said he came out not only to show his anger against the government, but also his solidarity with his children.
“When I was young, I always believed that you could have a successful life if you worked hard enough, but it doesn’t seem to be the case nowadays,” he said. “My son is an electrical engineer, he works hard, but he still lost his first job when his company moved across the Strait. Not long after he started his second job, he was put on unpaid leave by his boss for some time because of the bad economy.”
“It’s Sunday today, but he still cannot come here, because he’s working overtime on a Sunday shift — he works hard, actually, he works even harder than I did, but I don’t feel as hopeful for him as I did when I was his age,” Chang said.
COMMITMENT: The world’s biggest contract chipmaker said that its new 2nm chips, as well as next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4nm chips, will be produced in Taiwan Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said that the majority of its most advanced chips would continue to be manufactured in Taiwan and that it is boosting advanced chip packaging capacity to catch up with fast-growing demand driven by generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications like ChatGPT. Deeply rooted in Taiwan, TSMC is expanding production capacity for its most advanced 3-nanometer (nm) chips at its Tainan fab and is building new plants to produce new 2-nanometer chips in Hsinchu and Taichung in 2025. The chipmaker also plans to produce next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4-nanometer chips, which are currently under development, at home, it
Former US president Donald Trump has been indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, a remarkable development that makes him the first former US president to face criminal charges by the federal government that he once oversaw. The US Department of Justice was expected to make public a seven-count indictment ahead of a historic court appearance next week amid a presidential campaign punctuated by criminal prosecutions in multiple states. The indictment carries unmistakably grave legal consequences, including the possibility of prison if Trump is convicted. It also has enormous political implications, potentially upending a Republican presidential primary that Trump
PASSAGE DISPUTE: A US and Canadian transit was a provocation and an attempt to ‘exercise hegemony of navigation,’ China’s defense ministry told a forum in Singapore The Ministry of National Defense yesterday urged the Chinese Communist Party to avoid provocative behavior after a Chinese navy ship crossed the paths of a US destroyer and Canadian frigate transiting the Taiwan Strait. A Chinese ship on Saturday “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of [the USS] Chung-Hoon,” an American destroyer, the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement. The vessel “overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards [137m]. Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 [knots, 18.5kph] to avoid a collision,” the statement said. It then “crossed Chung-Hoon’s bow a second time
HARD-WON FREEDOM: Beijing’s 1989 crackdown on protesters has not been and should not be forgotten, as China tightens its grip on Hong Kong, Lai said Taiwanese enjoy democracy and freedom and have multiple ways to express their creativity, and hopefully young people in China would also one day have the freedom to sing and express themselves, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s bloody crackdown on student-led protests in Beijing in 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident. Tsai posted a photograph taken in March in a subway station in Guizhou, China, where hundreds of young people gathered to sing People With No Ideals Don’t Get Hurt (沒有理想的人不傷心), saying that they