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Up to 200,000 protest nuclear energy

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The 309 Nuclear Free National Rally kicked off its string of events in front of Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei yesterday afternoon, with similar rallies in Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taitung and Penghu.

Over 100 civic groups joined the nationwide event, including the I am Human group and Victims of Nuclear Power, from Northern Taiwan. Despite the unseasonably hot and humid weather, people flooded into the street in front of the Presidential Office, with some even decked out in heavy costumes.

Police estimates put attendance in Taipei at over 50,000, with some 8,000 each in Taichung and Kaohsiung. The event's main organizers, however, estimated that 120,000 protesters turned out in Taipei and 200,000 nationwide.

According to organizers, the demonstrations sought to make five statements: stop funding for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, stop installing fuel rods at the plant, stop the operation of all three nuclear power plants, remove all nuclear waste from Orchid Island, and requesting the government implement restrictions on power use.

“We ask that the government terminate all nuclear power immediately,” Taipei event host Lai Wei-chieh (賴偉傑) said.

Marching from Ketagalan Boulevard, the rally made its way through the capital, stopping in front of the central bank to demand that no more funds be allocated for the fourth plant, at the Taipei Botanical Garden (植物園) to protest against 47 legislators who support the plant; and at the Council of Agriculture to demand farmland be protected from nuclear radiation.

Some participants used 5 kilometers of blockade tape to encircle a section of Bo-Ai Road. “Using the blockade tape represents that if anything happens to Nuke 4, the entire city of Taipei will become a restricted area due to the impact of the damage,” Lai said.

Afterward, demonstrators returned to outside the Presidential Office for a vigil, the first protest of its kind on such a scale in years, organizers said.

Distrust for Premier

Although the government has proposed launching a referendum to decide the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, Lai lashed out at the idea, saying that using a vote to settle such a sensitive issue has sparked too much controversy.

“The referendum is full of conspiracy and questionable points. Does the government really think they can allow a referendum to decide Taiwan's environmental fate?” he asked.

When asked about Premier Jiang Yi-huah's (江宜樺) statement that he might appear at the demonstration, Lai said, “If you (Jiang) truly believe in terminating nuclear power, then come and join our demonstration. Otherwise don't even bother.”

“No one can ensure the safety of nuclear power, not even Premier Jiang.

“A 1-percent threat is still a threat. I think it's illogical for the premier to promise a nuclear-free country in the future but continue the Nuke 4 project.”

March 10, 2013    olichu@
I can't believe the statements being made by the protests,

"Stop funding for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, stop installing fuel rods at the plant, stop the operation of all three nuclear power plants, remove all nuclear waste from Orchid Island, and requesting the government implement restrictions on power use."

This is such a ridiculous statement. How do you people expect to power your cell phones, computers, lights, air condition, hot water, etc? It is so illogical and impractical. You people say not to build a nuclear power plant, then complain about a few percentage point increase in your electric bill. Give me a break!
March 10, 2013    jakeF@
Interesting that people will campaign against nuclear power and conveniently ignore pollution from motorcycle/scooter riding, which overtime will inevitably lead to greater deaths through illness compared to the low probability of a nuclear accident. Kaohsiung city government wasted millions on a relatively unused MRT system and has allowed traffic to dominate city streets with little restriction.
March 11, 2013    carltanong@
From 2008 to 2013 we all have EXPERIENCED rally and demonstration disturbances organized and pioneered by the DPP for political purposes when they lost the presidential election season or any election season...

As I and my friends saw on TV, the DPP were so successful by using this sensitive issue NUKE 4 in organizing rally and demonstration.

As per our analysis and UNDERSTANDING., the DPP used this sensitive NUKE 4 issue that 100% will surely cause social and civil unrest from the rally and demonstration, if a single shot were fired like during 228 and 319, it will spread wildfire nationwide (whole Taiwan) organized and planned by the DPP hoping to grab power and blame the KMT for the shooting or to the mainland like the fake 319 assassination.

To avoid this kind of fire and fury like 228 and 319, the government should be aware of these scenarios that the DPP hope for by using the NUKE 4 as their political card.

The KMT should now make a counter proposal to all the DPP bright lawmakers:
_Mr./Mrs./Miss DPP: Would you approve that we might as well SHUT DOWN all our NUKE 1-2-3 immediately for NUCLEAR FREE HOMELAND without any political purposes?
_But if our economy collapses, high cost of electricity and unemployment shooting up etc.... are you willing to be held liable for the misery caused by your misdeed?

It is the only way to stop the DPP to disregarding that "nuclear energy as an alternative approach to maintain economic growth considering what is viewed by diminishing and dependant on resources of oil and natural gas"......and the DPP knows that very well.
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A massive crowd floods onto Ketagalan Boulevard to voice their protests against nuclear power. The main organizing group estimated that the entire amount of protesters reached 120,000 in the capital city. The rally began in the afternoon and lasted into the night. A vigil was set to last through the night and be followed by a new march this morning. (CNA)

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