Thousands of people* marched through Taipei in a protest against the expansion of the petrochemical industry. They shouted “Oppose Kuokuang, save Taiwan!” (反國光，救台灣) as they marched. This was in reference to the Kuokuang Petrochemical Plant which is slated to be built off the coast of Changhua County.
Large contigents travelled to Taipei from Changhua and Yunlin counties to join the protest. Many of them were mobilised by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The photo above shows Liu Chien Kuo (劉建國), a DPP legislator from Yunlin County, Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), a DPP legislator, and Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬), Yunlin County Commissioner, leading a section of the march.
A group of young people dressed as Na’vi, characters from the movie Avatar, caught the attention of the media at the start of the march. There was active participation by young people from various groups in the march.
After the marchers arrived at Ketagalan Boulevard they took seats for speeches. Most of the speeches were in Hoklo Taiwanese so I can’t report on exactly what was said. However, I think the protest reflects a strong grassroots opposition to the petrochemical industry.
Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤) took to the stage to sing their song “Civil Revolt” (官逼民反). They altered some of the lyrics especially for the occassion.
While the protest was on Ketagalan Boulevard a laser was used to project slogans onto the outside of the Presidential Office. I was unable to get a clear photo of it though (you can see it in the YouTube video linked to below). Although the people of Yunlin and Changhua are not participating in the elections on 27 November the protest succeeded in putting pressure on the government to reconsider the plans for new petrochemical plants.
- Anti-petrochemical rally demands suspension of Kuokuang project – Focus Taiwan
- 反石化萬人遊行 促石化政策轉彎 – PTS News report on YouTube
- Anti-petrochemical protest in Taipei – my photos on Demotix
- Say No To Petrochemicals Demonstration – Craig Ferguson’s photos on Demotix
- 11/13 protest against petrochemical industry – photoset at flickr
*The Apple Daily reported 5,000 people. The organisers said “nearly 10,000”.