Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street demonstration that started in September and organized through social media sites such as Facebook, 300 protesters surrounded the Taipei 101 financial center at 1:01 pm to draw to attention to the unequal distribution of wealth. Several cities in Asia, including Seoul and Tokyo, have had similar protests. The China Post reports:
In a departure from conventional social movements, the organizers stressed that all the participants in the protest were organizers and spokespersons. All citizens were invited to an “open-air discussion” as a first step in the formation of a consensus on bridging the gap between the haves and have-nots. During the protest, onlookers and representatives of the media choked the surrounding streets. About 50 police officers were on standby nearby.
At 1:01 p.m., the 300 protestors tried to surround Taipei 101, but their number was just enough to form a semicircle. The protesters then went around the building, each with a hand placed on the shoulder of the person in front.
A downpour in the afternoon cut short the outdoor protest, and several scores of the protesters went inside the building, where they marched on the first floor, chanting slogans and singing songs. Some stores and boutiques were shut down while the rally was inside the building.
Although the protest was considered relatively peaceful, small conflicts broke out between protesters, Taipei police, and Taipei 101 security staff. The Taipei Times adds:
Before entering the building, demonstrators circled it, sparking minor physical and verbal clashes with security staff and the police who tried — unsuccessfully — to stop the protesters from entering.
After their brief “march” inside the building, the demonstrators lay down and blocked the entrance of the building. Initiated by Internet users on Facebook, several hundred people showed up at the “Occupy Taipei” demonstration.
The protesters said Taipei 101 was chosen as the target because it is a landmark symbol of capitalism in Taiwan. Participants were mostly students, but also included office workers and unemployed and retired people.
See also: “Why Occupy Wall Street Would Have Never Happened in China” from CDT.