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Pan-blue rallies in Taipei draw major politicians

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Rallies held by pan-blue parties to show support for the government and law enforcement in Taipei, yesterday, attracted major politicians.

The ruling Kuomintang's (KMT) Youth League held a rally in Taipei Sunday morning to show support for police's law enforcement Sunday morning, a response to the tense Sunflower Movement protests that kept officers busy through March and April.

Demonstrators marched to the National Police Agency (NPA) around 10 a.m., when NPA Deputy Director-General Her Hai-min met them to receive flowers they carried. About 1,500 people took part in the march, according to the Taipei City Police Department.

The deputy police chief told reporters that law enforcement authorities respect freedom of speech, but it should be practiced in a lawful manner. Police stand for law and order, he said, and will firmly enforce the law.

He said that police actions to remove protesters have been "misunderstood" by some as state violence, but he insisted that the acts were part of enforcing the law.

Sean Lien, KMT candidate for Taipei mayor, joined the Youth League in the rally to express appreciation to the police officers who have spent days and nights on duty to contain what he called protests that went beyond the boundaries of rational demonstrations.

Asked whether he would support police in similar circumstances if elected in November, Lien said that upholding the law is the most important principle for a city administration. If demonstrators act illegally, police should strictly enforce the law, he said.

Later in the afternoon, the New Party held the "New May 4th Movement" rally at the Ketagalan Boulevard to show support for democracy and the rule of law in Taiwan.

New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) said that the party organized the rally to counter the "populism" that has damaged Taiwan's hard-earned democracy. Yok said that the number of people participating in the demonstration is not important; what is important is their determination to express their patriotism. President Ma Ying-jeou's sisters Ma Yi-nan (馬以南) and Theresa Chao (馬冰如) also attended the event. The organizer estimated that around 10,000 people participated in the rally.

KMT lawmaker Tsai Cheng-yuan, one of three ruling lawmakers targeted by recall movements launched by Sunflower supporters, was present at the KMT rally.

Tsai blasted the protesters as a violent mob who provoked and challenged the police by using the protests as a pretext to "illegally raise funds" and burden society.

Tsai said that he does not care about the recall bids and suggested launching counter recalls for opposition lawmakers.

"It would be easy to cut down some green grass in Taipei City," he said, referring to lawmakers from the "pan green" camp that includes the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

May 5, 2014    aistyllis@
"Tsai blasted the protesters as a violent mob…:"

Then Tsai would wet himself if he were to see students in Europe protest.
May 5, 2014    principle@
These people do not see the irony in what they are asking. There would not be ANY DEMOCRACY if it wasn't for people fighting the rule of law and the police. As for Lien being there, he's already chicken s**t that protests would continue when he's mayor of Taipei.
May 5, 2014    MatRally@
We were there in the afternoon, passing & observing with cameras at hand, rather than supporting. As we got off the cab, we immediately came upon an elderly man sitting on the ground with a series of propaganda papers arranged in the shape of a cross. One that stood out compared Lin I-hsiung, the former DPP chairman whose family was massacred during Martial Law, to the devil. Apparently one of the devil’s many iterations is to launch a hunger strike against unsafe nuclear power in a bid to avoid millions of people being irradiated following a meltdown (silly us: I’d always thought that the devil wanted to roast people up!).

As we approached the scene, it quickly became clear that the people who’d heeded the call by the just-created New May Fourth Movement had travelled from the past. A great many of them looked like they’d fought the Japanese in World War II. A few looked like they may have been around when the original May Fourth movement was created in 1919 following the conclusion of the Great War.

The contrast with the Sunflower Movement, against whose “violent” actions they were rallying, could not have been starker. The average age of the crowd was easily three times that of the student protesters. My partner was shocked when on stage, leading the crowd, materialized an elderly man who, in her youth and when Taiwan was still under authoritarian rule, had haunted their school lives by teaching them the exact same songs and dances that we were now hearing.

There was a large contingent of people — again in their 70s — wearing white T-shirts from pro-unification gangster Chang An-le’s Unification Party, with a big map of China (including Taiwan of course) printed in red at the back. Most of them were from out of town, primarily Longtan in Taoyuan County. From the looks on their faces, most of them didn’t seem to have a clue why they were there. They were probably offered a bit of money, a free lunch box, and a “tour” of Taipei.

We walked around the crowd, taking pictures of old faces. There were some young people, admittedly, among the 2,000 people or so (police farcically says 10,000) who’d gathered to wave the ROC flag and sing old songs. But the ratio of young-to-old was strikingly lower than that of the many protests against the government that I have observed over the past two years, not to mention the 350,000 to 500,000 people, mostly young families and students, who participated in the March 30 rally organized by the Sunflower Movement.

I saw several donation boxes for the New May Fourth Movement, and could only shake my head at the idea of those donors being deceived into giving money to Chang An-le, the man who, along with the pro-unification New Party, was very likely behind this whole enterprise. My sense is that most people were unaware of the connection with Chang, who showed up — accompanied by two of President Ma’s sisters and KMT Legislator Alex Tsai — at about 4pm.
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