Hundreds protest at
SOLE OF THE MATTER: Protesters threw shoes
toward convoys carrying the president and other officials, which they said
signified the public’s discontent with the KMT
By Loa Iok-sin / Staff reporter, in Greater Taichung
Two boys throw shoes at a picture
of Vice President Wu Den-yih outside the venue of the Chinese Nationalist
Party’s (KMT) national congress in Greater Taichung yesterday.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Hundreds of people from various groups
yesterday vented their ire toward President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his Chinese
Nationalist Party (KMT) outside the party’s 19th national congress in Greater
Taichung’s Wuci District (梧棲), by chanting slogans and throwing shoes.
Members of the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan and the 908 Taiwan Republic
Campaign shouted: “Step down, Ma” and “No to the service trade pact,” as they
hurled shoes over police barricades toward convoys carrying the president and
other high-ranking government officials when the vehicles arrived at the
Taichung Stadium where the meeting began at about 8am yesterday. None of the
shoes hit the vehicles as the protesters were barred dozens of meters away from
Labor rights activist groups, including the National Alliance for Workers of
Closed Factories (NAWCF) and the Taiwan International Workers’ Association (TIWA),
joined the demonstration from Taipei at about 10:30am, bringing more than 10,000
pairs of shoes.
“We’ve collected the shoes from Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, and Greater
Taichung, and each pair signifies the public’s discontent with Ma and his
government,” TIWA researcher Wuo Young-ie (吳永毅) told the crowd. “Hence, we are
throwing the shoes at Ma not only because we’re upset about his performance,
we’re doing it also to show him the true public opinion — this is to remind him
what 90 percent of the people think of his government at a time when his
approval rating is only 9.2 percent.”
Chanting: “Return our rights to us” and “We’re voting with our shoes,”
protesters hurled hundreds of pairs of shoes over police barricades.
When the police were preparing to declare the actions illegal, Wuo spoke up to
shoulder the responsibility.
“If you [the police] want to declare our protest illegal and ask us to disband
immediately, go ahead and do it, I don’t care,” Wuo said. “Taoyuan Confederation
of Trade Unions member Yao Kuang-chu (姚光祖) and I will take full legal
responsibility for this, leave the others alone.”
Although the police reacted calmly to the protests, two incidents have
intensified the situation.
The first occurred at about 11am when the labor rights groups were marching
toward the venue, and a truck leading the parade sped up suddenly, with the
driver shouting: “Taiwan belongs to the Taiwanese, this is our land.”
Police officers and NAWCF volunteer peacekeepers quickly rushed to the scene,
and police stopped the truck by opening the door on the driver’s side and taking
control of the steering wheel, while NAWCF volunteers stood in front of the
The second incident involved pro-independence protesters shooting fireworks
toward the gymnasium, with one exploding outside the press center on the second
Police officers rushed to the scene to stop them from setting off more fireworks
and later arrested an elderly lady who held a bag of fireworks in her hand,
although she was not seen lighting any of them.
As the lady was taken into an elementary school nearby, a crowd gathered
outside, calling on the police to release her immediately and engaging in
physical clashes with officers.
After about 10 minutes, the police released the lady.
The groups spelled the English word “bumbler” on the ground with the remaining
shoes before they left.
According to Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇), a total of
1,200 police officers from across the country were deployed and more than 500
barbed-wire barricades used to make sure the meeting would proceed smoothly.