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《TAIPEI TIMES》 Bluebird protests against reform bills to continue

A protester holds up a sign opposing bills proposed by the opposition during a protest in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: CNA

A protester holds up a sign opposing bills proposed by the opposition during a protest in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA

2024/06/21 03:00

FIGHTING BACK: The KMT called on its supporters to show up, naming their rally Blue Eagles — because they are birds of prey — to ‘eat up’ the ‘bluebirds’

By Jason Pan / Staff reporter

An estimated 5,000 people gathered outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday for another day of protests against legislative reform bills, as lawmakers prepared to vote today on whether to review the bills another time.

The day’s “Bluebird Action” rally featured presentations by prominent figures and performances by Jutoupi (豬頭皮) and other entertainers.

They gathered in protest against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party lawmakers approving bills to expand their power through what protesters called “undemocratic procedures.”

The bills passed through a third reading on May 28. The Cabinet last week decided to exercise its constitutional power to send the bills back to the legislature for another look.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote today on whether to review the bills as requested.

Economic Democracy Union (EDU) executive Hsu Kuan-tze (許冠澤) said it was moving to see many people come out since the morning and listen to talks by leading activists and academics, despite the weather reaching 33°C by mid-morning.

The majority of the public are angry at the politicians, and many local groups are networking in preparing to launch recall campaigns against several KMT lawmakers. They are also organizing a plan to defeat KMT members who are reported to run for mayor and county commissioner next year, Hsu said.

Jutoupi went on stage last night for a musical performance and encouraged the protesters to fight on.

“Right now, we see this chaos and wrangling by politicians inside the legislature, we are depressed and downtrodden. People are feeling like a house is collapsing on top of them, having to bear the weight of fallen bricks and concrete pieces on their body,” he said.

“It is hard to see, and our bodies are feeling the pain and suffering. But we shall fight on, through our struggles, we can remove these bricks and concrete pieces, to oust those politicians trying to turn back the clock, trying to return Taiwan back to the bad, old days of authoritarian rule. Let’s uplift ourselves, overcome the current obstacles, and we can start to see the sunshine, to safeguard and maintain our democracy and freedom in the future days,” Jutoupi said in his speech.

The EDU, together with Taiwan Citizen Front and Citizen Congress Watch, have led the effort with more than 50 other civic society organizations, academic and student groups to organize the return of “Bluebird Action” protests.

KMT officials are mobilizing their supporters to gather outside the Legislative Yuan today, near the site already occupied by the “Bluebird Action” civic society groups for the three days.

Some KMT lawmakers and councilors have circulated calls on social media, naming this morning’s gathering the “Blue Eagle Action” for retirees of the military, education and civil service sectors, for a big turnout, to show support for KMT’s “legislative reform” efforts.

“We are naming it ‘Blue Eagles,’ because they are fearsome raptor birds of prey, so they can go eat up on the little “bluebirds’ of the green camp supporters,” KMT members said in their posts.

To prevent a potential confrontation between the two groups, Taipei Precinct Chief Chang Chia-huang (張嘉煌) said several police brigades have been called up, including more than 500 officers, to increase law enforcement at the site.

The two groups of demonstrators outside the Legislative Yuan’s northside, on Qingdao E Road, are on opposite sides and are separated by Zhenjiang Street, with metal barricades and a strong police force to ensure people are kept to their own section, and to prevent any encounter between the two sides, Chang told reporters yesterday.

“The road would be cordoned off, and have control points to restrict access and monitor the crowds. The two camps will have people entering and exiting at opposing ends of the road. We have police investigation units with mounted cameras for recording and constant surveillance, and we will not tolerate any violent action by protesters,” he said.

“We urge people participating in Friday’s activities to uphold peace, have respect for each other’s viewpoints and freedom of expression, and ask people not to intentionally provoke others. Police are mandated to maintain public security and safety for everyone, and will not tolerate any violent conduct and unlawful action,” Chang said.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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