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Taipei 2: Anti-Chen protests

| Entry | As I mentioned yesterday, there have been tons of protests against the president of Taiwan the last few weeks. Since tuesday was Taiwan's (or rather 'The Republic of China's') National Day, they staged an extra large rally and march through the downtown area... which just happens to be right near my hotel.

I left the conference after the morning session to return to my hotel and I had to swim through a see of red:

This is literally a block away from my hotel, it looks like a nice quiet sidestreet on the map... but turns out its only a few blocks from the president's office and other government offices....

The police were out in force to keep them away, they had a few lines of shields and they blocked off many of the streets with these vicious looking temporary blockades... in case you can't tell they're laced with barbed wire.

Barbed wire and truncheons aside, there was a lively attitude amongst the protestors, mostly showing 'A Bian, Xia Tai!' (A bian = President's nickname, xia tai = come down, aka quit). one guy says the first part, everyone else shouts the 2nd part).

There were even this guy:

Yes, full 'V for Vendetta' costume...  it would have been good, except I really disapproved of his sign.  

Not because of the vulgarity, but rather because I think its retarded to compare a democratically elected president who's family has been accused of corruption with Hitler... last time I checked A bian hasn't started any wars of conquest or committed any genocide... i kinda wanted to kicked him in the nuts.

Later on they a rally at the train station's south side, for several blocks around people were sitting down listening to various speakers and performers.

But by no means did the city come to a stand still, stores were open and a lot of people seemed to be going about their business (the silent majority maybe? or the disgruntled people who were working on a holiday). :-P

The most glaring juxtaposition of this occured right in front of the department store directly facing the area where these protests were happening. A record company had a promo event for a rock band set up, and 'Sea of Red' be damned, they were going to play their Rock and Roll!

Click for video (600 kb - DIVX)

No red shirts in front of this stage. Consumerists care not for politics! These guys had a good sound system, so they managed to drown out the folk music coming from the protester's stage directly across the street.... but alas the protestors were more prepared, their sound system covered several blocks in both directions....

Protesting is hard. later in the afternoon when i passed by again, lots of people taking naps...

After our conference's banquet I headed back through the same area, it was about 11pm, but there were still a lot of people milling about_:

I think thats one of the main organizers on top of the truck....

Click for video (650kb - DIVX)

I came through here again at about 7am, everyone was gone, i found out on the web why:

Police clear anti-Chen protesters (CNN)but there were more back again this afternoon... :-/

[I'm increasingly realized most of these guys are just KMT types (and you know what I think about them...) who dislike Chen and the DPP, and this is just their excuse to try and replace him].

I have a lot more pics of the rest of my trip to put up, i'll probably have to post them on thursday night, cause the conference is almost over and I don't think I'm going to get online before I fly back tomorrow night. I'm meeting up with Oliver tonight for dinner too.

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