Taiwan’s student-led protests and occupation of the Legislature are now into their 3rd week…. so I thought it was high time for me to go along and check out what’s going on!
Yesterday (on my home from the diocesan office) I passed by in front of the Legislature Building in downtown Taipei City – the main door guarded by police, but crowds seated on stools listening to speakers, and of course people posing for photos, as always!
Then around the back of the Legislature building, and in amongst the student protest area, located around a crossroads. People, tents, stalls, speakers, TV crews, banners, and sunflowers everywhere….
And finally round by the Executive Yuan which is now barricaded and guarded by police (having been invaded by students a few days after the main occupation began, but retaken by the police a few hours later)… But no people around, all the action is across the road at the Legislature. And in between these 2 is the Control Yuan, with its grand domed frontage and minimal security, but no-one’s interested in that one!
Whatever the rights or wrongs of it all, the student protest camp is extremely well-organized, order is well-maintained, visitors are welcome. Those involved in the protest are mostly students (students poring over large open text books much in evidence!) but also whole families, small children and several mothers with babies, all sleeping outside or in tents, making use of the ‘free showers available’ and eating food kindly donated.
As I left, a church from central Taiwan was getting ready to come on stage to sing choruses to encourage the protesters. Although only 4% of people in Taiwan are Christians, ethnicity, politics and church denomination are all closely related. Some churches openly support the protests, others keep a low profile, and many wonder just how it’s all going to end. Enough said. What’s for sure ~ we need your prayers please!