Daily Bloom is the shortform blog of New Bloom, covering breaking news events as they occur in real-time.
Day four of the occupation saw the largest set of protests yet, with between 1000 to 2000 protestors taking to the streets of Zhongshan South Road outside of the Ministry of Education. Though there was no protest route, protestors circled the section of Zhongshan South Road outside of the Ministry of Education for several hours. This was almost certainly the largest gathering of demonstrators to date during the Ministry of Education courtyard occupation.
Subsequent to the rally a concert with performances by bands and musicians such as Sorry Youth (拍謝少年) and speeches by individuals such as Freddy Lim of the New Power Party. In particular, during Sorry Youth’s performances, the vocalist suddenly turned around and smashed a cardboard cut-out of Xi Jinping which had been placed in the occupation site. After his speech, when prompted to by the MC, Freddy would jump-kick the cut-out.
The most significant development of the day was perhaps the announcement which took place after end of the concert, that Minister of Education Wu Se-Hwa would be meeting with student leaders the next day at National Central Library at 2 PM. While students had refused any meeting attempt which would not be public in nature, it would appear that the online broadcast of the planned meeting would have satisfied this demand of students. Although this might be a solution to the current impasse between students occupiers and the government, students having vowed not to withdraw their occupation until the repeal of planned textbook revision and the resignation of Wu Se-Hwa, it also remains possible that negotiations may simply break down relatively quickly—as they did when Wu Se-Hwa visited the Ministry of Education the day after the Ministry of Education courtyard happens.
Before the announcement of the planned meeting, the day was marked by some anxiety about whether a police eviction attempt would take place. Namely, even if today’s afternoon demonstration saw a high number of participants, those who are actually camped out in the Ministry of Education courtyard are decreasing in number. For the evening concert, despite the presence of big name bands and famous speakers, numbers were surprisingly low. And in the afternoon, it was discovered that a water cannon truck registered to the central government and not to Taipei—Taipei mayor Ko Wen-Je having promised to do what he could to make sure Taipei police would not forcibly come in and evict students—was parked behind the Ministry of Education and had hoses which were hooked up to water supply, possibly in anticipation of later use.
For now, the anti-textbook revision movement continues to go strong, but in the absence of sudden reversals, it does not look like the movement will see protest larger than the protest we saw today. Rumors currently abound about a possible eviction attempt if talks break down this afternoon.
Author: Brian Hioe
Photo Credit: Brian Hioe
Biography: Brian Hioe (丘琦欣) is an M.A. student at Columbia University, a freelance writer on politics and social activism, and an occasional translator. He is a resident of Taipei, Taiwan.