Friday, November 07, 2008

Protest Pictures

Protesters walk by barbed wire.

A friend who was at yesterday's protest has graciously consented to letting me post some of his pictures here. The complete set is on his Flickr account. Posters on Forumosa, the most important expat discussion group here, noted:
Actually, a very calm crowd. I remember several times during the Red Tide, we had great difficulty in going out for lunch -and at least once all the doors had to be locked, leaving yours truly outside.

Traffic, on the other hand, is a nightmare. If anyone has to come to the area, plan accordingly.

I just got back from the protest. I arrived around 1.30pm. The "violence" from what I saw was tiny, a few dozen people out of tens of thousands. So people, stopped falling for media propoganda. As soon as people starting getting rough wiht the police organizers jumped in immediately to try to stop them.

This was a peaceful protest and 99.99% of people simply marched and shouted as is their right.

I took tons of pics and will post some later.

One thing to consider though. This was gross overkill on the gov's part. I decided to walk around the cordoned area around the presidential building and it took me 1.5 hours. About 2 square kilometres or more were blocked off with barbed wire, metal fences and rows of cops in riot gear.

Provoke your people like this, act as if you are scared of them, and shit is going to happen.

The local papers usually announce them. I knew the protest was today and saw the time posted in the Taipei Times when I got up. Since I had a free day I rushed downtown to be part of the fun.

No problem at all video taping and photographing. Everyone is doing it.

As for the "violence" well, after the metal fences were pulled down everyone just moved into the centre of the road and sat and stood on the dividers with the palm trees growing out of them. Even the baboo baboo vendors moved in.

We have seen large numbers of riot police, brutality and barbed wire and water cannons before. Used to be a regular sight not too long ago.

Its the same old tussle. DPP vs KMT. Taiwan independence vs China.

Southern Taiwan vs Northern Taiwan (again DPP vs KMT)

The police tactic is again to let the protestors run amok and cause trouble. The KMT does this time and again to show people that the DPP brings trouble. Gangsters are always employed for this purpose and heaven knows Taiwan is 10pct made up of gangsters and hooligans who just LOVE a chance to riot and get back at the police.

Yep. You set up a perimetre that takes almost two fucking hours to walk around, put cops in riot gear all over the streets, and barbed wire walls, well, this is provocation. Seriously, everyone should get out there and see just how many cops are about and the ridiculous level of overkill.

When a government stops trusting the people, then the people start acting in like fashion.

cjc444, I am interested to know if you saw any violence at all. I saw one incident which was tiny but obviously from the way some people reacted on Fcom the news made it seem monstrously out of control. I also have my suspicions about the guys who started fighting with the police as I was not 30m from the incident. When the walls came down a groups of tough looking guys just suddenly ran around the corner and rushed over to start trouble with the police.

It was very suspicous as everyone else just hung back or crossed the barrier and proceeded to hang out on the street. You'll see in my pics later.

I went to all the 3 protests today (afternoon, Legislative Yuan and ZhongShang North Road, and didn't see any violence - even when I was taking pictures of the cops behind the barbwire in ZhongShang N. Road....

What you see on the news is just what they want you to see.... what about being there, and feeling it?

What about being with about 200 people and watching more than 400 cops crossing the bridge, watching water tanks coming in and people with video cameras filming everything (but just the protester side, not the police side)?

I missed the part where the protesters snipped the wires and broke through the barricades so I cannot comment on that and when I arrived at the area around NTU all I saw was a handful of a-bei's beating on the shields. After that calmed down I headed to the protests at the bridge where I expected to see violence, but while I was there the only violence I saw was water bottles being chunked at the fully-armoured pigs. At one point a couple of protesters pulled down one of the barricades and I shit-you-not within 15 minutes a group of guys picked it back up and set it back in place so no one would get hurt.

When I left at 10:30 it seemed the majority of the protesters were dispersing so I agree with your observations that the violence was done by a select few who were up to no good.

Overall this week I attended four different protests, and I was very very proud to be involved. I took hundreds of pics these past few days and they pretty much mirror yours MM. And I will repeat again, if these situations happened in our countries, the violence seen here would be minor compared to what we would have seen at home.
The protest appeared to be following a very common pattern in which it is peaceful until the evening or until the waning moment, when the "brothers" show up to make it "violent." It is best to take the idea of "violent DPP protesters" with a grain of salt. Since the TV media naturally focuses on the violent acts, "I saw it on TV" is not a valid representation of the protest. Realtime camera of one of the protests here.











As Mucha Man pointed out when he took this, the "violence" is limited to a few people -- in other words, it's the usual thing at protests.

This last one is from my friend Mr. Boogie.

28 comments:

Richard said...

Thank you for this. I had friends regurgitating media lines that the protestors were provoking the police and that all Taiwan protests are violent.

"What you see on the news is just what they want you to see.... what about being there, and feeling it?"

Very, very, well put.

David said...

I was at the conflict on Jingfu Gate. I am uploading photos to flickr and will publish a report on my blog soon.

A lot has to be said about what the police have done this week. However, they deserve credit for their restraint in the incident at Jingfu Gate. People were throwing projectiles at them and they simply held their ground rather than advancing. What really saved the day was the people in the crowd who calmed down the angry protestors. It must be said the people who calmed down the crowd were mostly DPP workers.

People should also be aware that DPP Chairwoman specifically called on protestors NOT to use violence. Her article published on the Taipei Times said, "you cannot resort to violence, regardless of the time or situation. Democracy is the DPP’s only weapon and peace is the only method we can utilize. This is my only request and my only order."

Arty said...

Just wait till next election (oh wait you guys think it won't be an election), DPP will truly learn its lesson when it loses more seats (is this even possible?).

For those of you blaming organized crime involvement in the violence, I have one thing to say: Just because someone digs a trap for you, you don't have to step on it.

Anonymous said...

There are no words to describe this. Is there no freedom anymore?

reeb said...

I live nearby ChungShan N.Rd. For the past two days the sound trucks have been parked in front of my building blasting out their messages.

I went up the street last night and rubbernecked for a bit. In fact, I was just behind that "don't negotiate with dogs" banner. It was funny to watch hundreds of people with loud airhorns blasting away. Chen Yunlin definitely didn't get any sleep last night.

The police seemed to have things under control but I think on both sides there were hotheads. I saw a few people take a hard beating, but they weren't so innocent either.

I have to say I haven't seen this type of show of police force since the riots in front of the main post office way back in 1988.

Lastly, the 24 hour TV coverage of Chiang PinKung kissing Chen's ass all week has to make more that half the population of Taiwan seethe with anger.

Anonymous said...

Aren't the KMT sending in their gangsters as usual to provoke the police?

Miguel said...

I was there, and you feel anxious with all that police.... it is only a small step away from getting nervous and violent... add a few alcohol and you have a recipe for disaster...

Formosan at Heart said...

This is almost a silly question, but where can I buy a DPP shirt?

Anonymous said...

arty: there have already been suspects arrested for questioning that are suspected members of heidao. you are far away from taiwan, and you talk like it too.

Anonymous said...

I was at the protest, infact the one at jingfu and he one at zhongshan. All i saw was that people were peaceful, just making lots of noise. All I knew was, together with the DPP, people were peacefully marching along AND only a minority of the people got themselves tangled with the police.

All i know that, the blue party&media are pushing full blame of the protest to DPP Chairwoman Tsai.

1) If we were allowed to wave our ROC flag infront of international news and Mr. Ma& Chen, will we protest?

2) We were even prevented from playing Taiwan's music from the store.

3) We were whacked by our own police on our own land whereby democracy and free speech was fiercely fought by the older generation. When was free speech BANNED?

From what I heard from my uncles, who were , 30 years back fighting for democracy. The tactics used, by the police and KMT, were still the same.

Joel said...

It has only been a little over a year since I left Taiwan, but it certainly seems like things are changing fast. Excellent post. Great use of your friend's photos.

hugecake said...

Hi Michael, Having been visiting your site for a while, I am adding you as my peer on my blogger, at http://hugecake.blogspot.com/
As a naiveté, I hope to get your advice of blogging.
Let's pray for, and root for Taiwan!

Richard said...

arty, I know you've long been a supporter of Ma and the KMT. But, do you still support their actions today? You support the censoring of freedom of speech, the silencing of political opposition? It's as if Taiwan is in it's infant stages of blossoming into a communist government.

STOP Ma said...

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Well done, Taiwan! The protests are getting much press in the international media.
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Thomas said...

I had a discussion with a Taiwanese friend of mine who dislikes all politicians. His take on this whole thing is that the DPP and KMT are both the same because they are only out for their own interests.

Oddly enough, he genuinely feels that Taiwan's destiny will only be decided by Taiwanese. His response to Ma's selling out of Taiwan was simply that Taiwanese will not allow that.

How many people are in the dark like this, even after watching the news? It is like a willful ignorance of international realities.

Mashhood said...

hey, i was at the protest on 6/11 from about 1-6pm....all I saw were peaceful protesters marching, raising slogans, and shouting....from the way TVBS was showing it you'd think there was unending violence...

TCL said...

The American news coverage of the events in Taipei has been shameful. Aside from a short article outlining the Chen - Ma agreement on the transpo deal, a NY Times article mentioned that a "handful of protests" greeted the Chinese envoy. Nothing mentioned about the massive show of police force, the violence, or the rollback of civil rights. Funny (or not) enough, the contributing reporter chipped in on the event from Paris.

Is this the typical Kissingerian bias when it comes to Sino - Taiwan relations coverage?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/world/asia/05taiwan.html?_r=1&ref=asia&oref=slogin

Anonymous said...

arty: you talk so big so i think you must be compensating for a small ____. scooter gangs coming out to chiang-shia were the most visible, direct evidence of violence that had nothing to do with the protests. the heidao connections still being investigated. you keep talking, i'll keep reading the news.

Arty said...

arty: you talk so big so i think you must be compensating for a small ____. scooter gangs coming out to chiang-shia were the most visible, direct evidence of violence that had nothing to do with the protests. the heidao connections still being investigated. you keep talking, i'll keep reading the news.

Well, like I said, I don't expect you guys to listen except let's see what I have said before.

1. Ma won the election flat out.

2. Taidex under 6000 (well, I was wrong it is under 5000). I even hinted to you guys to short it.

3. Obama won by a large margin in elector college votes! Yahoo!

You can keep reading your news. My stands are exactly like Buffet's. I will tell you what's going on. However, I can careless you listen or not because I will profit (literally) from those who don't listen.

P.S. Watch Taiwan currency carefully. This is actually my less comfortable prediction fyi.

P.P.S. Considering the amount of women I have been with, I am very confident with my ____. :) I am a sex addict and it's only vice. I am also 1.8 m tall but the shortest male in my family this generation.:(

Tim Maddog said...

Arty's job as a troll -- much like the job of the blue media -- is to foment doubt. He's certainly not here to make positive contributions to the topic.

David, I'm glad to be able to read your firsthand reports about the DPP workers being the ones calming people down.

For others who wish to learn more about the history of people who infiltrate green protests with the goal of getting them labeled as "violent," download this PDF of The Kaohsiung Tapes.

As for this time around, Chang An-le (張安樂) (AKA "White Wolf") offered his own special brand of "police presence" to this mix. See him talk about it in a November 5, 2008 interview with CTiTV.

Tim Maddog

vin said...

Alpha Arty wrote:

"You can keep reading your news. My stands are exactly like Buffet's. I will tell you what's going on. However, I can careless you listen or not because I will profit (literally) from those who don't listen.

... P.P.S. Considering the amount of women I have been with, I am very confident with my ____. :) I am a sex addict and it's only vice. I am also 1.8 m tall but the shortest male in my family this generation.:( "

-- If you do happen to make some money during these diffeent economic times, Arty, I hope you spend it on help for your narcissistic personality disorder; because whatever the truth of your second statement quoted above might be, there's obviously no testosterone going to your brain.

Arty said...

Arty's job as a troll -- much like the job of the blue media -- is to foment doubt. He's certainly not here to make positive contributions to the topic.

Sure, if you are counting calling people troll as contribution or constructive to the topic :). I hope you know that I have not started any name calling. Like Michael said, readers will make a judgment of that. Just because someone have opposite opinions than you does not automatically make him/her a troll even in a pro-Taiwan independence blog.

Btw, how is the mafia connection that DPP trying to connect to the violence. If you read today's news, it is not pending out well, isn't it? One of the person who was arrested during the 北美館 riot for charging up to the blockade is 李廷鈞. Is he a mafia member or one of your "freedom" loving buddies (hint: go figure out who his father is)? Btw, another guy who was also arrested is a DPP legislature office worker.

Taiwan Echo said...

Live broadcast of student protests:

1) Taipei: http://live.yahoo.com/wenli

This is the first protest. Started on 11am, Nov. 6th (Thursday) in front of Execute Yuan, it was dispersed by the police yesterday. Students regrouped on the Freedom Square. It's been going on for ~50 hours now.

2) Tainan: http://live.yahoo.com/tainandirect

Started just now (1 pm Taipei time, Nov. 8th, 2008). It's in Guang-Fu Campus of Cheng Kung University.

3) Taichung: http://1106.ezyou.cc/Home/tai-zhong-chang-ci

This one will start 2 pm, Nov, 9th, 2008, Sunday. See the above link for location.

chris said...

i really feel sorry for the police officers and news reporter who got injured, they were after all just doing their jobs

vin said...

"Just because someone have opposite opinions than you does not automatically make him/her a troll"

-- True, so understand that it's not because you have opposite opinins, Arty; it's because you distort facts and arguments, omit addressing facts and arguments that are inconveneient for your views -- including arguments others dierectly address to you -- and in general show flagrant disrespect for logic and consistency. "Trolldom" is not achieved merely by having differing opinions; it's achieved by not playing fairly and squarely. And NPD-dom" is achieved by not contenting oneself with being a troll but needing to further (compulsively!)add wildly irrelevent attention-seeking, self-dramatizing or contempt-laden "bonuses" into your posts.

Btw, I've noticed that it's when you use "Btw" that you're most in an NPD-style-troll frame of mind.

Johan said...

Michael,
This concerns comments from a person who calls himself "arty".
I'm all for full freedom of expression in a blog's comments. But if someone with, I think, an obvious psychological disorder attempts to use your blog as a distasteful mud-slinging forum, I think you ought to consider blocking this person's comments.

Tim Maddog said...

Arty the troll trolled:
- - -
Sure, if you are counting calling people troll as contribution or constructive to the topic :). I hope you know that I have not started any name calling.
- - -

Yes, I am doing exactly that.

In addition to making you whine, I'm helping readers remain focused on facts, firsthand observations, and known history instead of doing trollish things like trying to diminish (or are you somehow saying it doesn't exist?) the fact that a known gangster has basically advertised his own involvement in these events.

... and then he re-trolled:
- - -
One of the person who was arrested during the 北美館 riot for charging up to the blockade is 李廷鈞. Is he a mafia member or one of your "freedom" loving buddies (hint: go figure out who his father is)?
- - -

There you go again. The person to whom you refer is the son of Lee Yung-ran (李永然) (variously written as Lee Yung-jan and Y.R. Lee), a lawyer employed by the KMT. Read about him in the section of this post which is titled "He's not a cop, but he played one on TV." Can you say "saboteur" and "'Get out of jail free' card"?

Stop trolling, and I won't have to go all Big Billy Goat Gruff on you anymore, troll.

Tim Maddog

Anonymous said...

Arty:

I don't have a link yet, but if you watch Taiwanese TV news:

Already, very hugely suspicious--a protestor was sitting with police, then joined the protestors and started acting violently--then as was led away by police, kept hiding his face vehemently using his arms and his clothing. Bystanders tried unsuccessfully to get him to "smile for the cameras". Has anyone seen such a crazy thing? Attending a protest, being arrested by police, and hiding in embarrassment? You didn't think a TV camera would pick you up, esp if you started acting violently?

The Security Department of Taiwan was in charge of the police during the protests. This is very scary stuff. This is very, very scary evidence that the government purposely inserted undercover cops to cause violence to discredit the protestors. I can only imagine what else the state machinese has been attempting. God help us...

Even if DPP supporters caused some of the violence (to be honest, there are social elements out there that are nominally pro-DPP, but mostly just get drunk and attend any rally they can and try to piss people off... this happens EVERY rally), the government is not absolved of its guilt for directly inserting fake protestors and causing trouble.