Taipei, Oct. 15 – Protesters taking part in world-wide anti-capitalism demonstrations disrupted operations in one of Taipei’s major luxury shopping malls today, causing several shops to shut down.
The aim of “Occupy Taipei”, as a global response to the “Occupy the Wall Street” movement, is to protest against inequality between the rich and poor in Taiwan, according to protesters.
“We want the right to be elected as local Taiwanese, please treat us equally,” A representative of new immigrants said, “I would say to those who are participating in Occupy Wall Street, just go go go!”
A student from National Taiwan University, who hold up a board reading “Homosexuals need respects”, sat with other protesters in the front gate of the Tower.
A couple of Taiwanese immigrant in US watched protesters marching, said their slogans and purposes were too childish, they knew nothing of capitalism and socialism.
The marchers had originally hoped to circle the building, Tower 101, the tallest in Taipei, by linking hands. But their numbers fell far short of the 1400 needed to ring the building, so they made their way inside, standing in front of some shop doors and keeping customers out.
Earlier, they had marched around the tower, but constant drizzles led them to abandon their march and try to get inside the building to take a shelter from the rain. An argument broke out when security guards blocked their way.
They were eventually permitted inside after a manager of the tower said, “Let them in, maybe they will shop and eat in our restaurants.” There they marched around the first floor, affecting the shops, shoppers and tourists who had come to see the view from the 101st floor. The Chanel shop soon closed for several hours to avoid the protest.
Inside, the protesters circled the shopping area several times with chanting the “Internationale”, shouting such slogans as “We are Taiwan’s 99%,” “No global capitalism,” “We need jobs,” and “We are against luxuries”.
Nearly 350 protesters joined the march, including new immigrants, university students, the unemployed, homosexuals etc. It was too far fewer than the 1400 needed to stand hand by hand to circle the tower.
The Taipei 101 Tower is a well-known landmark in the city. Its shopping mall has many luxury shops, which mainly attract tourists from mainland China and Japan, and rich local Taiwanese.