Several groups yesterday said a rally planned for Sunday against President Ma
Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during the party’s 19th
congress in Greater Taichung will be held even though a “protest zone” will not
The groups, including the National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories
(NAWCF), has collected more than 5,000 shoes for demonstrators to throw during
the protest outside the Taichung Stadium in Wuci District (梧棲). More
shoe-collections will be held in Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Greater Taichung ahead of
“These shoes are not thrown to hurt anyone. Throwing shoes is a way to
express anger and discontent with the authorities. Besides, the KMT will block
the roads around the stadium on Sunday, and there is no way we can throw shoes
at any government officials. It is not going to be a violent protest,” NAWCF
member Wu Yung-yi (吳永毅) said outside the KMT’s headquarters in Taipei as
representatives from the groups defended the rally.
Holding signs that read “Vote with your shoes. Take back your rights!” the
groups slammed the KMT for obtaining permission to use eight major roads around
the stadium and blocking the venue off from protestors.
Despite the Taichung City Police Department’s decision not to set up a
protest zone on Sunday, Wu said the rally will proceed regardless of the police
“Blocking the streets around the venue is a tactic that deprives the people
of the rights to rally. The party is forcing us to confront the police when
holding the rally,” he said.
The KMT had discussed the possibility of setting up an area across the street
from the stadium, which could hold several thousand people, for protests and
petitioners. However, the police ruled out the idea, saying protesters would not
necessarily confine their demonstrations to the zone.
The police said nets to catch shoes or other objects thrown by demonstrators
will be prepared, but may not be used.
Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, has promised to ensure the safety and
dignity of party delegates during the congress in response to concerns voiced by
some KMT Central Standing Committee (CSC) members over possible shoe-throwing
He also promised to respect the public’s rights to rally.