Taipei — Thousands of people joined a series of protests in Taipei Sunday, hurling shoes at portraits of government leaders and demanding that President Ma Ying-jeou step down, according to reports.
The morning demonstration, which featured the shoe-throwing activity, was organized by an alliance of unemployed former factory workers and other activist groups to coincide with the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party’s national congress, which was postponed to avoid confrontation.
Though the protests were mainly aimed at President Ma, the pictures set up included Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and chief whip of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party Ker Chien-ming.
At the presidential residence, another group of protesters shouted slogans outside the walls as police barricaded the premises.
Finally, there was a demonstration in front of the Presidential Office, which organizers said was attended by 50,000 people. Police estimated the number at 5,000.
The protesters came from various parts of Taiwan and are angry for different reasons.
Pressure has been increasing on the government for months, with Mr. Ma’s approval rating hiting an all-time low of 9 percent earlier this year, though it rose to 21 percent in a recent poll.
Some local workers lost their jobs after the mass shifting of factories to the Chinese mainland, and several political scandals have rocked the administration.
Some protesters said they are dissatisfied with the way the country is being run, others that the price of electricity will go up in October
A Presidential Office spokeswoman said the president understands and respects the appeals of the groups participating in today’s protests, and will continue to communicate with different groups of society who are disgruntled.
She said the president is asking relevant government departments to come up with reasonable solutions based on the demands of the demonstrators. Image/AFP/news.yahoo.com