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Thousands march in anti-petrochemical protest in Taipei

Anti-petrochemical protest in Taipei

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.

DPP politicians at protest

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.

Two women dressed as Na'vi from Avatar

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.

Crowd on Ketagalan Boulevard

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 sing at the protest

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.

Links

*The Apple Daily reported 5,000 people. The organisers said “nearly 10,000″.

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Comments

Comment from Daniel Mong
Time 14 November 2010 at 5:05 am

Very impressive pictures. Wonder what the DPP is going to do if if wins the elections. Opposition to such projects has to be cross-party, otherwise it’ll be viewed as partisan politics.

DM

Comment from David Reid
Time 15 November 2010 at 2:00 am

Daniel, the DPP cannot do much because the elections are only at the local level. It is easy for the DPP to mobilise its supporters on issues like this when it is opposition, but if it was in power it would be a very different situation. Even if the DPP controlled the executive or legislature I doubt they would be able to stand up to the powerful interests of the petrochemical industry.

Unfortunately most issues in Taiwan become partisan politics. It’s hard to avoid.

Comment from one of the Na’vi girl
Time 15 November 2010 at 6:24 am

I’m so glad to hear that a foreigner knows the true situation in Taiwan.
I hate partisan politics so much!!!!!

Comment from David Reid
Time 15 November 2010 at 9:48 am

Na’vi girl, although you might hate partisan politics I hope you will still go to vote on 27 November!

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