Brussels, June 26 (CNA) Taiwanese nationals and officials posted overseas took to the streets of Brussels on Tuesday in their first ever protest against China’s bullying of Taiwan in the de facto capital of the European Union.
About 250 overseas Taiwanese compatriots, students, diplomatic officials, officials from Taiwan’s diplomatic allies posted to the EU, pro-Taiwan European Parliament members, Belgian parliamentarians and officials, attended the rally to show support for Taiwan and protest China’s suppression.
The march started at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie at around noon, with some protesters wearing T-shirts decorated with the ROC (Taiwan) flag, holding flags and walking behind a large banner bearing the words “Support for Taiwan,” and ended at the Taipei Representative Office to the European Union.
Protesters covered the 2-kilometer route in about two hours.
Tseng Ho-jen (曾厚仁), Taiwan’s representative to the EU and Belgium, said China has ramped up pressure on Taiwan over the past few months by blocking Taiwan in the international arena.
It was therefore decided, with the support of the representative office, Taiwanese compatriots in Belgium and international friends, to hold the march to ensure Taiwan’s voice is heard in the international community and “say no” to China’s bullying.
Georges Dallemagne, a Belgium politician and co-chair of the Belgium-Taiwan Friendship Group, said it was important for him to take part in the demonstration because he is a friend of Taiwan and because Taiwan is a democratic country with a vigorous economy that wants to help deal with global issues, such as improving global health care.
Ivan Stefanec, a member of the European Parliament for Slovakia, said that Taiwan is one of his favorite nations and he encouraged Taiwanese to continue promoting democracy because democracy is important to Taiwan and Taiwan-European relations.
Meanwhile, Boris Zala, another European Parliament member for Slovakia, said “We always support democratic countries,” noting that Taiwan is recognized as a model of democracy in Asia and even the world. He also praised Taiwan for demonstrating against China’s oppression.
Others present at the event included Palau’s Ambassador to the EU Jeraldine Ebil Tudong, Tuvalu’s Ambassador to the EU Aunese Makoi Simati and European Parliament members Bernd Kolmel, Cristian Dan Predd, Dieter Lebrecht Koch and Ivo Vajgl.
The protest received positive media coverage from Le Soir (French: “The Evening”), a French language daily Belgian newspaper.
(By Tang Pei-chun and Evelyn Kao)