Taiwan independence rally attracts thousands of protestors in Taipei

Citizens came out in full force for the 'anti-annexation' march to call for an independence referendum

Citizens came out in droves to call for an independence referendum (Image by Taiwan News)

Citizens came out in droves to call for an independence referendum (Image by Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Thousands of people marched through the streets of Taipei this afternoon (Oct. 20) in protest for independence.

The protest was organized by political coalition Formosa Alliance and culminated in a rally outside the central office of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Organizers announced over 130,000 people were in attendance.

Formosa Alliance was established in April 2018 by Formosa Television chairman Kuo Pei-hung (郭倍宏) and is backed by former Taiwanese presidents Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui. It also includes political groups like the New Power Party (NPP) formed in the wake of the 2014 Sunflower Movement.

NPP chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), current and former Presidential Office advisers Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) and Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), as well as DPP Taipei City mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智) all showed up to support calls for an independence referendum.

(Taiwan News image)

The rally opened with a speech from Kuo Pei-hung in which he reminded the public that people all over the world can see the Taiwanese do not tolerate Chinese bullying nor China’s encroachment upon Taiwan. He appealed for citizens to stand together in helping protect the values of freedom and democracy in Taiwan and take control of the island’s fate by insisting on an independence referendum.

The Formosa TV chairman pleaded with citizens to let the world know that Taiwan wants to be independent, join the U.N., and determine its own destiny.

Footage from the rally

The event host Dennis Peng (彭文正) announced that Taiwanese nationals from all over the world had returned to take part in the rally, and that it had gained the attention of international media. Other speakers called upon President Tsai Ing-wen to take a more affirmative stance on Taiwanese independence and not be subdued by Chinese antagonism.

Although the main event site was situated outside the DPP central office, organizers told media it was not a direct attack on the political party. The original site was on Ketagalan Boulevard but the event had to be relocated due to complaints from the city government.

The Formosa Alliance Facebook page states the group will first push the Taiwan legislature to amend the Referendum Act (公民投票法). It will then push for an independence referendum before the end of April 2019.

Although the Referendum Act was amended in 2017, for which revisions took effect in January, this simply lowered the benchmark needed for referendums to take place. Currently, the act does not allow for changes to the Taiwanese constitution including those regarding the island’s national status.

(Taiwan News image)

(Taiwan News image)

(Taiwan News image)