Sunday, May 17, 2009

517 Rally!!!

"Ma Ying Jeou!" -> "Go Die!"

Okay, that wasn't one of the official chants/slogans that the DPP used, but that's what some people said. Instead of "Ma yin gau, lo tai!" it became "Ma yin gau, ki si!" (English translation, "Ma Ying Jeou, step down!", became "Ma Ying Jeou, go die!"

My first protest ever in Taiwan, and it was an amazing experience. The last time I ever protested was for Taiwan, but that was during the 95-96 Missile Crisis, and I was doing it as a little kid with my parents and cousins in downtown Seattle (Westlake center). It was nice to have that feeling of fighting for a purpose again. Everyone was happy and hardly any conflict occurred during the march, but at least for myself- emotions were high. Not so much like I was going to start crying, but I felt the power of the people in a way. It is a feeling that is hard to describe unless you were actually there. To see young and old (mostly old), even those that looked like in their 70s and 80s marching, with canes was just remarkable. They are the ones that have been through the White Terror and martial law era, if anyone knows what they are fighting for- it was them.

Having read about the previous protests and the articles covering them in the past, I know theres always the number games being played about how many people actually attended. Taipei Mayor puts it at 80,000, while the DPP put it at 600,000. Because we know both will exaggerate in their favor, we'll just attempt to make it simple and take the mean and say at least 340,000 were in attendance. From what I saw, I think that is a very conservative estimate. This is why you never take what the newspapers/media give you at face value. More on this, below, during the pictures:

We started gathering at the main entrance of NTU around 2PM. We arrived promptly at 2, and there was already a few thousand waiting:

An abundance of organizations and flags, from Falun Gong, to Tibet, to DPP, to Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, and so on:

People started marching onto XinSheng Road at around 2:45PM. I waited til basically 3PM before I started marching, as I thought there would be some announcement to start walking-- but it never came. Bit by bit, people started to just follow everyone:

The sign reads that the ECFA is more scary than the H1N1!:

Took some black and white pictures to make it look historical-esque. Now we're starting to see how large our group of people were:

A side view of our long line of marchers on XinSheng S. Road, easily stretching past XinHai Road to the front:

"I don't want my country to fall into poverty" (my sluggish translation):

Picked up my DPP flag to wave from this kind man:

A lady leading us into chanting, "Ma Yin Gau, lo tai!":

Not sure the exact translation of this one, but on the opposite side I think I remember it reading, "Ma Ying Jeou is a Traitor":

Reached HePing E. Road and climbed up the elevated walkway to get a better shot of the amount of people:

A guesstimate to the amount of people spanning horizontally across the street is about 35-40. And if we count back rows from the bottom to about where there's that small gap in front of the large white banner (about middle of picture), we get about 25-30 rows- that gives us about 875-1200 people in just this small square. Now try to visualize how small that block actually is, maybe less than 30-40m. And then extend it back, taking into account the depth of field.

Another shot of the crowd after getting onto HePing E. Road:

A lady attempts to talk some sense into the police officer and explains what Ma is doing wrong- the police just looks away, and obviously very irritated:

My Mandarin sucks too much for this, feel free to translate:

Crossing another intersection, we get some "加油!" from a few on the autobikes. After a few more started cheering us on, about 6-8 of the people waiting at the intersection on their bikes were cheering us on. Just goes to show, there really are a lot of Green hiding in the depths of Taipei:

A fellow youngin' holds a stuffed horse and a hammer, encouraging people to come and hit the horse (馬 = Horse = Ma Ying Jeou's last name):

Nearing C.K.S. Memorial Hall (or Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall), we get to the front of our pack and see some DPP heads leading the front. Not sure who the woman is, but she is an elected official I believe:

Vendors set up shop in front of the " " Hall, selling an assortment of books, flags, bags, t-shirts, CDs, etc:

C.K.S. looks on from the back as we pass by " " Hall:

I left around 5:30PM as we were hungry and needed to get some dinner. I eventually came back to the DPP sit-in area at around 11:30PM to see how it was going. I'm really tired now, so I'll leave that for tomorrow. Enjoy!

Edit: I am having trouble with my SDHC card right now, the second update of the sit-in will have to wait.

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