This morning a crowd of several thousand people turned out in front of the Presidential Building for the beginning of the UN for Taiwan torch relay. President Chen Shui-bian gave a speech talking about the importance of Taiwan entering the UN using the name Taiwan.
President Chen and Vice-President Annette Lu held up the torches and set off to mark the start of the relay. According to an article in today's Taipei Times they were to run down Ketagalan Boulevard and hand the torches on to Frank Hsieh and Su Tseng-chang. From where I was standing they just disappeared into the crowd and I never saw Hsieh or Su.
The crowds followed the torch down Ketagalan Boulevard. The mood was happy and festive.
Police directed the traffic.
I snapped the ROC flags fluttering outside the Legislative Yuan. Unfortunately Taiwan is still stuck with a flag that represents the historical ROC. Taiwan really needs a new flag that represents the modern and democratic nation. For some information about what a Taiwanese flag might look like check out this page, an editorial from the Taipei Times and this Wikipedia article.
A small group of
KMT members Chinese Unificationist Party members [corrected after comment from Poagao] were standing outside the Control Yuan. They were holding signs saying 要入聯，先統一 (Want to enter the UN, first unify). A small scuffle broke out between the men and those holding opposing views. Their opinion represents a very small minority as is evidenced by their small numbers in comparison to the huge crowd supporting "UN for Taiwan".
Overall it was great to participate in this event. "UN for Taiwan" seems to have captured the spirit of the public here in Taiwan.
*More photos at flickr.