Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Anti-Nuclear Power Plant Protests in Taiwan this past weekend–even as the Earth shakes

by Kevin Stoda

Protesters were out in the thousands in Taipei and in the Greater Kaohsiung area on Saturday. Nationwide anti-nuclear power protesters were organized under the name “430 Sunflower Nuke Action”. [In Taiwan or the R.O.C. 430 simply represents 430 or April 30. Historically military battles--cataclysmic events are marked by such 2 or 3 numbers representing the dates of the major event in history. For example 2-28 or 228 is a national holiday in Taiwan--that was when a people's revolt was brutally put down starting on February 28, 2011.]

“With “smile at the sun, keep away from nuclear disasters” as the theme of the parade, yellow flowers were picked to symbolize sustainability. Some also held handmade paper windmills, symbolizing green energy and a bright future without the fear of a potential nuclear crisis.The nation’s anti-nuclear movement gained new momentum in the middle of March after a massive earthquake struck Japan and unleashed a tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, causing radiation to be released, which has endangered northeastern Japan’s food and water supplies.“

In Kaohsiung one of the events witnessed a die-in carried out by potential victims of a nuclear power accident similar to Fukushima’s or Chernobyl’s.

In Taipei at least 5000 people were about marching to government offices. “A student from an Aboriginal Tao village on Orchid Island (蘭嶼), where a nuclear waste storage facility is located, said the Tao people believed that nuclear radiation, which has no form or color, is like evil spirits and must be banished.”

The desire of the renewed campaign is to demand that “the government to map out retirement plans for the nation’s three operational nuclear power plants, to put an end to the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and to create a nuclear-free homeland where everyone can live without fear of a nuclear disaster.”


Taipei’s 2 1/2 hour-long parade eventually stopped at the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard. There, “[t]wo Japanese, Ono Saiko and Oga Ayako, who said they were forced to leave their homes in Fukushima Prefecture because of the nuclear crisis, joined the parade in Taipei and shared their thoughts with the crowd.Saiko noted, “The Fukushima nuclear crisis is still going on in Japan; we are not in the mood to find fault with the cause, but we are facing a problem of how are we to protect our next generation,”
She said that she hopes people in Taiwan can join forces with people in Fukushima and take nuclear problems more seriously.” Saiko added that she hopes that the peoples of both Taiwan and Japan will do more than take these mateters seriously in the future.

Ayako claimed that she saw “’hope and power’ in the protest in Taipei, and hopes that the next time they are in Taiwan it will be a nation free from nuclear threats.”


The very afternoon of the protests on April 30, 2011 (at 4:35 pm), there was a 5.7 Earthquake that shook parts of Taiwan. Taipei registered about 3.4 on the Richter scale. This is the fourth earthquake this year over 5.0 on the Richter Scale.



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