Taiwan anti-nuclear protest marks Fukushima

Activists calling for an end to nuclear energy in Taiwan on Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster with a march through Taipei.
Since the March 11, 2011 tsunami followed by the nuclear disaster, Taiwan’s anti-nuclear movement has held protests each year. The government of President Ma Ying-jeou responded to the actions by canceling the completion of the fourth nuclear plant, but the Democratic Progressive Party administration of President-elect Tsai Ing-wen, to be sworn in on May 20, has promised to make Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025.
The main demand of Saturday’s protest was for lawmakers to make haste with passing the necessary legislation for such a nuclear stop. The new Legislative Yuan, where the DPP holds 68 seats out of 113, already took office on February 1.
The protest event was to start at Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building at 2 p.m., with the march moving out two hours later in the direction of the Legislative Yuan. At the end of the route, at the old North Gate, 100 activists were going to show a 30-meter-long banner spelling out their demands, reports said. Protesters were asked to bring yellow or black umbrellas.
The protest wanted the government to hurry up with a solution for nuclear waste, while providing legislative proposals for an end to nuclear energy. The three existing nuclear power plants, two in New Taipei City and one in Pingtung County, should be taken out of service as quickly as possible, and work on the fourth nuclear plant stopped altogether, they said.
In Taitung, protesters took aim at the nuclear waste issue, since a significant amount has been stored on the region’s Orchid Island despite years of protest.
On the north coast in New Taipei City, New Power Party Chairman Huang Kuo-chang joined a rally where farmers and fishermen said they had not “grown and raised” the local nuclear plants.
Taiwan’s second city, Kaohsiung, also saw a major anti-nuclear march Saturday. Protesters pointed that even if the fourth nuclear plant would not be completed, the country still faced major problems because of the presence of waste from the three existing plants. The third plant in Pingtung was located on an earthquake fault line, which would make it difficult to survive the upheaval of a major tremor, protesters said. Marchers were disguised as yellow vats of radioactive waste, while children stood behind the imitation of a yellow cardboard bus with “destination: abolition of nuclear energy” written on its side.

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