President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday attended the New Year’s Day flag-raising ceremony in front of the Presidential Office Building.
After the ceremony, Tsai posted a message on Facebook wishing Taiwanese a happy New Year.
At about 6:20am, Tsai and Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), accompanied by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), stepped out of the building to attend the ceremony, which started 10 minutes later.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
It was the second time that Tsai attended the ceremony in her capacity as president since taking office in May 2016.
While the Republic of China (ROC) flag was being hoisted, Tsai sang the national anthem without skipping the part that says “the fundamentals of my party,” as she had done on previous occasions.
The words “the fundamentals of my party” are seen as pertaining to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
The singing of the national anthem was led by a group of soldiers from various branches of the armed forces who had been commended for their performance, as well as some Taiwanese athletes who participated in last year’s Taipei Summer Universiade and those from the nation’s soccer team.
The ceremony was also attended by members of the public, some of whom had gone there directly from New Year’s Eve countdown parties.
Some people sported national flag stickers on their face as they waved flags and took photographs.
Photo: CNA, copied from President Tsai Ing-wen’s Facebook page
After singing the national anthem, Tsai took to the stage to greet the crowd and welcome the first day of the year.
A concert followed the ceremony, with performances by bands from Taipei Jianguo High School, Taipei First Girls’ High School and Zhongshan Girls’ Senior High School.
Several other bands, such as Wooden Glasses and Funky Brothers, also performed.
Scattered protests took place during the ceremony. Two pro-Taiwanese independence groups were removed by police after waving flags and shouting slogans saying that the ROC is an external regime.
A separate group of about 20 people gathered outside the Democratic Progressive Party headquarters to protest the proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法). The group later marched along Katagalan Boulevard toward the Presidential Office Building, where they held banners, shouted slogans and acted skits criticizing what they said was Tsai’s failure to fulfill her election promises.
The KMT yesterday held a separate New Year’s Day flag-raising ceremony in front of its headquarters in Taipei, where KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) performed an exercise routine to music.
The KMT must unite and garner more support for this year’s local elections to return to power in 2020, Wu said.
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