First, the media distortion. The Green media is reporting as many as 300,000, though some are reporting a more reasonable 150,000. The pan-Blue media hilariously is reporting 40,000. On this planet, there were 150,000 or so (more on that later).
Let's put that in perspective: the DPP thought 100,000 might turn out, if things went well, I didn't expect more than 20,000.
We got 150,000.
150,000 raucous, energized, Taiwan-loving, I'm-mad-as-hell-and-I-won't-take-it-anymore, economically suffering, politically marginalized, ornery, sweaty, crowded, salt-of-the-earth Taiwanese with the power of righteousness like a lightning strike in every line and crack of their sun-baked faces. They were trading names and butting heads. They were rowdy. They were screaming and yelling and singing and shouting and the walls of Jericho would have melted before them like sea-foam in sunlight. They were the people of Taiwan.
Folks, I got religion. I went to the election rallies in January and in March, and felt like they were going through the motions. I didn't get religion; I returned home empty and afraid. I went today and I was with people who believed. Who spent the hours saying Ma Ying-jeou's name like a swear word. Who made sardonic jokes and jogged each other in the ribs and shoved each other out of the way. Who left Chen Shui-bian behind and looked to the present and especially, the future. Who hadn't given up on Taiwan even though the mighty in their halls of power had given up on them, repeatedly.
Awesome. They are the future of Taiwan. Maybe they will acquiesce to the coming sell out, sullen, inarticulate, and impotent. But maybe they will rise and smash the pillars of the mighty with a grunt and a heave like Samson at his last banquet.
Enough preaching already. On to the pics!
Lots of marchers complaining about the economy and Ma's cooperation with China. Lots of marchers blowing away the DPP's wildest expectations. It was good to see the DPP use Ma's economic claims against him. Let's hope that DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen can find a way to translate this energy into momentum for the future...
UPDATE: Spoke to a longtime radio personality here and single mother after the rally. She had marched, her first ever in all the long years of protests. She added that she was not the only one for which this was a first march. Maddog has a long piece with pics of some of the many excellent banners focusing on sunshine laws, the stock market, and other issues, as well as a rip on the media for reporting the falsehood that only 40,000 attended. When I arrived at the gathering point there were thirty or forty thousand at my back, and a like number already there, and more streaming in from the other march. We were well over 100,000 and more were coming. It sucks the way the media uncritically accepts such numbers.
UPDATE: A local photographer caught my kids. This guy rode on one of the trucks and got some excellent pics of the signs and the crowd. Another tale of the rally is here. Reuters has quality video here. The Only Redhead here. Island Republic has a great set of pictures here.
UPDATE (SEPT 5): Paul Lin in the Taipei Times observes what an electrifying effect the rally had on DPP morale.