Thursday, November 13, 2008

Here are some "extremists" for you.

Apologies for the poor quality of the video. My camera doesn't do well at night.

Except they're not "extremists" at all.

Some photos and videos from the student protest and accompanying support protest at National Democracy Memorial Hall continuing last night.

They're students - and not the radical kind; they're students from medical school and teacher's college. One boy is studying to be a dentist and his father is at the protest supporting his actions there. They're smiling kids with glasses and in jeans.

Supporting them, marching in a circle in front of the gate, are some more "extremists" - they are grandmothers, parents, middle managers, retired people, office workers and day laborers. There are even a few foreigners. Again, not extremists. Average people who happen to have political views that are inconvenient, so they are wrongly labeled.

I wrote awhile back that nobody was doing anything about the martial law imposed while Chen Yunlin was visiting, and am happy to be proven wrong. It would be better, however, if more people were there. Get those 600,000 demonstrators back; that'll show Ma how this country really feels about his actions during that visit.

It also worries me that this is getting approximately zero international press. BBC had a story, otherwise people worldwide seem to think all the hullabaloo is over the arrest of Chen Shui-bian (we weren't sure if he was taken into custody or formally arrested; this morning's Taipei Times says he was formally arrested yesterday).

It seems other stories have appeared in various newspapers, including the South China Morning Post - but, ahh...tell that to the otherwise worldly and well-educated friends I've spoken to who haven't got a clue what's going on here until I mention it. If that's a sample of the world of people who should care, it sure is an ominous sign.

Protesters - look at those extremists! - supporting the students.

Extremist banners with extremist Chinese characters on them. I forgot what this one said, but I see the characters for game and for tragedy - so probably something about amending the parade law. How extreme!

Protesting students and strawberry balloons. Sorry - extreme strawberry balloons. The balloons are there, presumably, as a smart-aleck comeback to the student generation being labeled the "strawberry generation" - soft and unable to stand up to pressure.

Which would also explain why so many of the adults I talked to (the students were listening to speakers) seemed to be parents who were there supporting their offspring.

The extreme gate to Freedom Square and Nat. Democracy Memorial Hall (aka Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall).
Woman reading the names of students protesting and asking for a change to the parade law. There's another faction that says Ma and the entire executive cabinet and chief of police should step down.

The number of extreme hours that the students have been there.

The protesters gather to chant a few times.

Let's see - someone's auntie, a kid who works in an office in Neihu somewhere, a nice elderly couple who could be your neighbors. Extreme, huh?

There were a few speakers through the evening while I was there. This guy was especially passionate and - from what I could tell with my poor Chinese - eloquent.

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