About 10,000 people from labor unions and other groups joined a march protesting unemployment in Taipei today. Taiwan’s unemployment rate reached 5.8% in March. Many unions participated in the march. Youth and students also joined to express their concern about difficulty finding jobs after graduating and the low wages for part time work.
The march began with the participants gathering at Freedom Square (自由廣場). They then marched along Ketagalan Boulevard and north to Zhongxiao West Road, before returning to Ketagalan Boulevard.
On Zhongshan South Road beside the Control Yuan there was a huge line of riot police and barbed wire. A report from Monsters and Critics said:
About 100 protestors later attempted to break into the cabinet’s office to see Premier Liu Chao-shiuan and voice their dissatisfaction over what they claimed was government inaction to increase jobs in Taiwan.
They were stopped by hundreds of police who formed a human wall to prevent them from breaking in. No major violence, only pushing and minor scuffles, were reported.
I was at the back of the march and didn’t see what happened so I can’t comment on it. I can only say that the mobilisation of such a large number of police seemed excessive for a well organised peaceful protest marching along a defined route.
The march concluded with more speeches. DPP legislator Gao Jhy-peng (高志鵬) came onto the stage to speak. Several people from the Youth Labor Union approached the stage and shouted at him to apologise. I am not sure exactly what their complaint against the DPP was. Gao did acknowledge the DPP made some mistakes while it was in government. No KMT legislators spoke at the event.
*More photos in the Labor Day protest set at flickr.