Cross Posted from Asia One
Police estimated that some 3,600 social welfare activists yesterday waged the annual “Autumn Struggle” protest, which ended with some participants throwing eggs toward the Presidential Office.
With the theme “The people turn left”, this year’s demonstration called on the central government to turn away from its single-minded pursuit of economic growth that damages the environment, suppresses wages and benefits capitalists.
In the past year, the government has increasingly favoured the 1 per cent at the expense of the rest, said organizer Lin Tsu-wen.
The annual “Autumn Struggle” started as a labour movement and has expanded to include members of other groups. This year’s procession featured five brigades of labour, environmental, land, migrant and education activists.
The Taipei City Police Department deployed 1,060 officers from precinct bureaus and the Special Police Corps to maintain order and keep the peace.
The first brigade marched “against the commercialization of education” and rising tuition costs. University students and professors embarked from Taipei’s Shin Kong Mitsukoshi plaza at noon yesterday.
Meanwhile, the “anti-nationality discrimination brigade” staged a “hot pot of human flesh” at the Council of Economic Planning and Development and called on the government to prioritize the rights and interests of migrant workers. Participants included workers and activists from the Taiwan International Workers Association and TIFA.
The “anti-land grab brigade” demanded justice for Wenlin Yuan, the Shilin District’s Wang family and other victims of urban renewal projects.
A fourth brigade featured laborers and environmental activists who met at the Taipower Building. Marchers demanded a cease to construction on Nuclear Plant No. 4 and other projects that sacrifice the welfare of the Earth and laborers.
The “labour justice brigade” saw the highest turnout of the day. At 1:30 p.m., workers met at the Bureau of Labor Insurance to protest against possible cuts to labour insurance and private-sector pension programs.
Under police supervision, the five brigades wound through downtown Taipei alongside traffic. At 4:30 p.m. they met behind police barricades at Ketagalan Boulevard, where they threw eggs toward the Presidential Office.
President Ma Ying-jeou will request that the Executive Yuan provide concrete responses to workers’ demands, as the central administration is very concerned about issues raised by the 2012 “Autumn Struggle,” according to a Presidential Office statement.
In its own press statement, the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said that it has heard the 9.8 million workers who are concerned about their livelihoods and will take their opinions into account when building a comprehensible labour insurance programme, adjusting the minimum wage and handling the concerns of migrant workers.