Peaceful ‘Occupy Taipei’ protest planned for Saturday


TAIPEI–Protesters in Taiwan will gather at Taipei 101 on Oct. 15 to join other people around the world in staging their own version of the “Occupy Wall Street (OWS)” demonstration that has been in progress in the United States for almost a month.

The Taiwan protest will be a peaceful gathering and will take the form of a group discussion outside the landmark tower, initiators said.

They are hoping that the first “Occupy Taipei” action, which was initiated on Facebook, will attract at least 1,000 people.

“Together we want to stand up and make a change in the world — a bit of the world — for everybody,” said Kimba Vetten, a South African who is one of the initiators of the protest. The OWS began on Sept. 17 in New York City and had since spread to other cities in the U.S. and beyond in protest against social and economic inequality and corporate greed. Although the Taiwan economy is not as bad as in the U.S. or Greece, there are still things that can be done to make it better, said Vetten, who lives in the eastern county of Yilan with her husband and two children, ages 8 and 11. She said the group of 10 initiators, formed via the Web, has encountered some problems of misinformation.

Someone was spreading a rumor on the “Occupy Taipei” Facebook page that foreign nationals who are joining such a protest could face the risk of detention or deportation, Vetten said. This has led to fear among people who wanted to attend the event, she said. However, Vetten said, she checked with the National Immigration Agency and was told that arrests would be made only in the case of violence or vandalism.

“I don’t think anything bad will happen because the people who are going all have the same idea — it’s a peaceful thing toward change. There’s no hatred,” she said.

So far, more than 3,100 people have “liked” the Facebook page, and about 1,000 have said they plan to attend, according to Vetten.

However, she said, the actual number is likely to be higher as the information is being spread via other Internet channels, by means of pamphlet handouts on the street, and in media reports.

“But I’d be happy if we only have 100 people, you know, because we have already started,” she said.