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Oct 25, 2008

Live blogging the parade

21:03 Yesterday A-bian said that if Ma's statement that the ROC has sovereignty over mainland China is true, then Chen Yunlin is a traitor and anyone can arrest him when he comes here. Otherwise, Ma's formulation is just BS. I doubt Chinese internet users will take kindly to this formulation.

20:45 Huashi television station estimates 600,000 attendees at the parade, more than the DPP's original goal of half a million and a pretty good showing (Huashi is not a green station). Formosa TV also says 600,000 (green station). TVBS puts the number at "hundreds of thousands" and at about 500,000 total. ERA says 400,000. Police estimate 200,000, but the police have very weird policies on releasing numbers and traditionally underestimate. Reuters' Ralph Jennings calls it "close to half a million." BBC only uses "Tens of thousands" (great job, Gluck!), same as AP and the Boston Globe. I await Michael's analysis once we have better pictures to examine.

16:56 That's it for now. I'll blog more if anything important comes up later. It's time for standing around and making speeches.

16:52 SET-TV is reporting that there were over 1,000 buses from the south coming north, and that the crowd size of half a million has been reached, but I'll wait for Michael Turton's crowd size analysis before I believe it.

16:47 Ma's getting his word out there, pointing out that polices like direct cargo and passenger flights and tourism were pushed under the DPP, though the difference was that the KMT accomplished it. He said people are intentionally using the sovereignty topic as a wedge issue instead of praising the government for getting things done on that front.

16:44 The plan now is to wait for everyone to finish their parade routs and gather at the main stage. This is probably when crowd size will actually be biggest, because people will start trickling off in boredom one everyone's just standing in the square. So it will be interesting to see what the pictures look like from around this time.

16:38 There's 5,000 police officers out today helping to keep control and keep everyone on route.

16:35 The crowd is getting pretty big at the ultimate gathering point, apparently strettching from Renai Rd. to Zhongshan S. road.

16:31 The KMT legislator on SET-TV just took a lot of verbal abuse from a caller.

16:25 There's a KMT legislator as a guest on SET-TV. Nice tough to balance out the usual crowd.

16:12 I wish they could burn Chinese flags at these things.

16:07 A-bian's a focus of all the main stations at this point. Guess you gotta do something different every few minutes. There's also already some musical entertainment in front of the presidential palace and a large crowd thats' more or less skipped the march in favor of being here early and getting good standing room.

16:00 There's plenty of people int he crowd welcoming A-bian warmly when he walks by, but I recall a lot of indifference to him and slogans aimed at supporting him last time I attended a rally on 8-30 last year.

15:58 Looks like some reporter took a verbal beating for their pro-blue bias. This happens regularly at these events, though the confrontations are not physical. But the reporters can get an earfull.

15:53 TVBS is doing their damnedest to find the most agitated parade attendees.

15:50 Formosa TV is saying there was some sort of fight between blue and green supporters over on the east side of the city. Sure it couldn't have been too big. Waiting for clarification. Then again, if nobody got it on camera, I doubt they'll find it worth reporting much.

15:49 The parade will end at 6:30 and will be followed by a three night sit-in at Freedom Square in front of CKS.

15:42 By the way, the official goals of the parade are to get the premier to resign, have China compensate Taiwan over the tainted milk powder, and to have Ma "admit his mistake" in handling that crisis.

15:39 This election also marks a reconciliation between the TSU and DPP. TSU chairman is leading line 3, which opposes throwing away sovereignty.

15:36 Nobody is upping the crowd estimate from half a million, so my guess is they haven't even gotten close enough to that number yet. It's also really hard to count until they come together.

15:33 Su Chen-chang is playing a pretty strong roll leading his group over thre in parade line 5 or whatever. Giving pretty rousing speeches. Hadn't heard from him in quite a while. Additionally, there seems to be ample opportunity for interviews with important DPP leaders during the parade.

15:28 Watch the parade coverage on SET-TV live! Scroll down here:

15:18 Wow, a total of 800 busses were booked by the DPP to send people to Taipei for this event (one day round trip + insurance, each passenger had to pay 600 dollars from Pingtung or Kaohsiung).

15:11 Some cool English signs out there and lots of flags and posters from previous marches. Actually, I'm not sure if they'll be much to report between now and the end of the parade. This isn't a debate or anything. The big question is the numbers that will be present in the end.

15:01 The parade has started, with all five lines beginning their march toward the convergence point in from in front of the presidential office. It's hard to see which line is biggest, but line NO. 1 (oppose dangerous Chinese goods) and No. 5 (oppose the ineffective Ma administration) look pretty big. Could just be the camera angles though.

14:58 Heh. A-bian's wearing a t-shirt from the 2004 "Hands across Taiwan" anti-missle parade, the most broadly attended protest in Taiwan's history to date. Correction:It looked to me like the UN for Taiwan shirt.

14:49 A female police officer seemed to have gotten in a verbal clash with some early arrivals at the parade, apparently because they were yelling some slogans about declaring independence and the female police officer said something about being the PRC. Details are unclear to me but seem relatively unimportant. Either a slip of the tongue on the officer's part... or she's a die hard or very stupid spy, which seems less likely.

14:47 Lee Teng-hui spoke today, basically saying he was too old to march but encouraging people to go on the streets. He called for the abolition of the SAF and institution of direct government-to-government talks between Taiwan and China.

14:45 Too early to estimate crowd size, but both UDN and SET-TV have reported that buses from the south were fully booked coming north, with each major southern county contributing at least 5,000 people. Others would have gone up on their own, not with mobilized groups. DPP is hoping for a turnout between half a million and one million.

14:42 A-bian, who is marching in the anti-defective Chinese products line of the parade, changed the location he was supposed to appear and has gotten out of the car at SOGO. This comes in light of recent assassination threats against him, and because he's not wearing a bullet proof vest as some may have recommended.

14:35 I'll be live blogging today's parade from the in-laws place in Pingtung. I'll be alternating between the main cable news stations on this to let you know how their coverage looks. First, an overview:
+TVBS is trying hard to tie the whole parade into A-bian, spending lots of time discussing A-bian's recent relatively inflammatory comments, asking why the DPP is "letting" him march despite the corruption inquiries, and questioning if A-bian is stealing the thunder of the parade.
+ SET-TV has a panel of the usual commentators and decided on a more focused view of the parade, rarely splitting the screen into too many divisions. Some discussion of both A-bian and Ma Ying-jeou's recent comments, as well as the goals of the parade.
+ Formosa TV News is about as close to a propaganda outlet as the DPP has. They're spending lots of time interviewing people in the streets and focusing on the goals of the parade when commenting. Even during commercials, information about the parade is being displayed (normally SOP for Typhoon days).
+ CTI is trying to show a little bit of everything, and trying to balance the commentary a little. Though most of the commentators seem to be a bit more critical of the DPP agenda.


Haitien said...

Thanks for the coverage, wish I could be back there right now!

STOP Ma said...

I noticed that most of the foreign media is reporting "10's of thousands". I can't even find it on the CNN or CNN-I site.


Way to go, Taiwan! It would have been a whole lot better to have Hsieh in power now though, don't ya think?

And now on to the blood-fest on November 3rd (or whenever it is).

Thanks for the live-blog!