Remembering the 309 Anti-nuclear Protest

by on 週一, 03 六月 2013 評論

This article is a review of the large anti-nuclear protest in Taipei on March 9, 2013. Click inside to watch interviews with participants filmed by Caterina Pavese and Cerise Phiv.

I have really good memories of the 9th March 2013 demonstration, when thousands of people marched together across the streets of Taipei city centre, to finally reach the gathering point, close to the main square of the city, where stands were set up and live music was performed.

Besides, the weather was favourable and it seemed to give us a taste of the summer to come, which helped the colourfulness of the people and their banners to shine even more before my eyes. I was very enthusiastic to participate because, compared to other rallies I joined before, the anti-nuclear protest was actually bigger than any other and, given how many people were gathered, this demonstration has become a landmark for the anti-nuclear movement.

At the beginning what impressed me most was the organization of the march: how groups of activists, NGOs, and representatives of civic associations marched in a well-ordered fashion and expressed their opinion by displaying banners and signs, by enacting short performances on the top of trucks, dressed up in colourful clothes and making a lot of noise with trumpets and other musical instruments. No sign of violence of unruly people was spotted in the crowd, which is in stark contrast with my country's protests.

Moreover, one of the things that impressed me a lot was the role of music both during and after the march. Among the protesters it was easy to encounter small trucks full of people playing loud music all over the streets, then, as the march ended near the presidential palace, several artists staged a free concert for a couple of hours. All these musical performances contributed to give a sense of vitality to the event. The musical factor was undoubtedly linked to the vast presence of young people, which made me realize that the anti-nuclear topic is particularly felt by the Taiwanese youth.


Regarding the participation, it was not only the quantity of people rallying, but also the variety of people that was notable. I witnessed not only environmentalist groups and activists marching, but also aboriginal groups, representative of farmers associations, human rights groups and, interestingly enough, association and NGOs devoted to support the rights of the immigrants in Taiwan.

In my opinion, all these elements highlight the fact that a shared awareness toward the nuclear issue is something that involves people nationwide and that is capable of engaging different layers of Taiwanese society at large. My hope is that the massive popular support showed for the anti-nuclear issues, one day could be the same for other equally important and sensitive issues, such as the "death penalty" and other human rights related matters in Taiwan.

Top Photo by 登曼波 , bottom photo by C. Pavese

Caterina Pavese

Recently graduated with an Msc in Anthropology from the LSE, Research fellow at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.





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