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Asia » Taiwan » Taipei
October 10th 2006
Published: October 24th 2006EDIT THIS ENTRY

Chiang Kai-ShekChiang Kai-ShekChiang Kai-Shek

We were lucky enough to witness the elaborate changing of the guard ceremony.
Political demonstrations are rare in Canada. Serious ones at that, I mean. Sure, you get the odd gathering of a few dozen 'activists' upset over something they usually know very little about - they just feel like bitching because they have nothing better to do with their time. Some moron is yelling into a megaphone, a few rocks are thrown, a squad car rolls up asking them to 'please stop it', and the end result is some raving lunatic on the six o'clock evening news whom you would like nothing more than to beat senseless with a phone book.

That's not the case here in Taiwan, when on National Day over one million people marched through the streets to support the deposition of President Chen Shui-bian. A staggering 70% of the population favours the removal of President Chen because of his blatant lies and corruption - seems that Chen and his family enjoy dipping into the cookie jar every now and then.

Normally, foreigners are discouraged from attending demonstrations, as the scene could quickly escalate to violence and you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. But this was the first time either of us had been in a situation
No Pee!No Pee!No Pee!

I love the way the guys arms are casually at his side while he relieves himself.
like this, and we were curious to observe. Many of the streets were blocked off with barbed-wire gates guarded by military personnel, and the police were out in full riot gear just in case things got nasty. There was a bit of tension in the air, but the people proved this rally would remain peaceful - as their beef was with the President, not law enforcement - and eventually several hundred police officers marched off through the crowd amid loud cheers, chants, and singing.

When we arrived on the scene - around 5:00pm - the crowd was about 100,000 strong on Zhongxiao Road in front of the main station, every single one wearing a red shirt with the slogan

Depose!

and a thumbs-down picture on the front. Despite being anti-government, there was an overwhelming sense of national pride and dedication to the cause, and we felt this first hand while crossing through the massive crowd to get to our hostel.

After getting settled we went to dinner (so good!) and strolled through a night market before returning to the hostel around 11:00pm, only to find the crowd hadn't shrunk by much and the noise was still very loud.
Taipei 101Taipei 101Taipei 101

At 508m, it's the tallest building in the world.
Eager to learn more about the demonstration, I approached a nearby couple sitting atop a subway entrance. Floyd and Alison were gracious enough to answer my incessant questions regarding the event and even got us chanting along with everyone else. We bought t-shirts to show our support and wished them well in their collective pursuit of a new leader.

Our time in Taipei spans a few days, so we were able to see and do what we had intended. From relaxed Danshui to chic Xinyi, smoke-filled temples to mouth-watering food stalls, towering Taipei 101 to the world class National Palace Museum, Taipei has so much to offer. It's a busy city and the traffic is mad, but it's clean, the people are great, and the food...mmmm, tasty! Some other highlights are the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and surrounding grounds, entertaining Snake Alley night market, and the asian food court and swaying in the breeze on the 91st floor outdoor observatory at Taipei 101.

After spending some time in historic west coast cities and the cosmopolitan capital, it's time to head down the scenic east coast and get our fill of Taiwan's natural wonders. And I'm sure the food's pretty good there
Martyr's ShrineMartyr's ShrineMartyr's Shrine

Formerly a Japanese Shinto shrine, now it's a backdrop for wedding photos.
too.

Camille & Denise


Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


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Bird's-Eye ViewBird's-Eye View
Bird's-Eye View

This was taken around midnight, after the crowd dissipated somewhat.
Where's the love?Where's the love?
Where's the love?

Why, it's right here on Xinyi Road of course.
Chinese Gate & CKSMH GroundsChinese Gate & CKSMH Grounds
Chinese Gate & CKSMH Grounds

National Concert Hall on the right, National Theater on the left.
Jump!Jump!
Jump!

Having fun at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.
CannonsCannons
Cannons

At Fort San Domingo in Danshui, protecting the former British Consular Residence.
Longshan TempleLongshan Temple
Longshan Temple

There's one in every town, just follow the sweet smell of incense.
CourtyardCourtyard
Courtyard

One of three waterfalls at Longshan Temple.
Taipei 101Taipei 101
Taipei 101

Waiting to be surpassed by buildings in either Dubai or New York.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial HallChiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Quite the imposing structure for the former dictator.
Standing SixStanding Six
Standing Six

A guard watches over the bronze Chiang Kai-Shek statue.
Thumbs DownThumbs Down
Thumbs Down

Floyd, Alison, and Camille showing their displeasure for President Chen.
Riot PoliceRiot Police
Riot Police

Police watch over the crowd of demonstrators during National Day protests.
BlockadeBlockade
Blockade

With the protests on the street, barbed-wire gates were lined up...just in case.
National TheaterNational Theater
National Theater

One of two huge builings flanking CKS Memorial Hall.


24th October 2006

Too bad Chiang Kai-Shek was a coward and a horrid leader. Purposefully stepping in the way of Allied forces in China that allowed Japan to pillage China and eventually led to the rise of Communism in China. I think of him akin to Charles de Gaulle who's name I spit at. *spit*
From Blog: Depose
24th October 2006

Welcome to the Club!
Way to go! You now know how good it feels to be part of a demonstration for peace and freedom. If you had blazed a doobie, you would have been right back in the 60's.
From Blog: Depose
24th October 2006

Right Arm
A Blog with no witty comments. I'm a little scared. Kinda cool to see y'all in the middle of a political protest of such magnitude. Even cooler that you found a guy named Floyd in Taiwan to explain it to you.
From Blog: Depose
24th October 2006

Killing time at work
So I've been bad in trying to catch up with my world travelling friends. I read through about 5 or 6 entry's today and all I ahve to say is amn... I wish these "blogs" were really around when I went travelling. Ouch.. just dated myself. They are so much nicer than just sending emails without pictures. yes children.. all I could was one small step up from group spamming.. and yes I did walk uphills both too and from school. Keep up the great story telling and pics!
From Blog: Depose
25th October 2006

You Go Girl
Fight the Power! ;)
From Blog: Depose

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