We thought that authoritarian regime is long gone.
We thought that freedom of speech had become part of our life.
But we are wrong....
Freedom and democracy--hard to attain, easy to be crushed. Over the past half a century, many have sacrificed their freedom, their youth, even their dear lives for the attainment of these rights. However, in this past week, we have witnessed the return of authoritarian regime, with its relentless and unnecessary suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. In order to "welcome" Chen Yun-lin (陳雲林), the special envoy from China, those peaceful protestors who were waving national flags, banners, singing protest songs or calling out loud their appeals, were brutally "served" by the police force with fists, kicks and sticks.
The whole society was shocked by such regression of democracy and freedom of speech. Civic groups began to organize themselves. University students began to take actions to defend freedom of speech.
Sit-in protest by the students started in front of the Executive Yuan on the evening of November 6. Three days later, on November 9, students formed the "Wild Strawberries" Student Movement. Their main appeal was that our democracy is in peril and the critical issues at stake are: the Parade and Assembly Law violates the Constitutional; and human rights have been infringed upon. They have demanded that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-hsuan (劉兆玄) should apologize; that the Director of the National Security Bureau Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) and the National Police AgencyDirector-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) should step down and that the Parade and Assembly Law be amended.
In support of the cause pursued by the "Wild Strawberries" Student Movement, civic groups decided to initiate a vigil walk around the Liberty Square every evening from six to seven pm starting from November 11. The organizer(s) would like to call for people from all circles of society to participate in this civic movement to Support the "Wild Strawberries" and Safeguard Our Beloved Taiwan. As Jiang Wei-Shui (蔣渭水), a pioneer in Taiwan's democratic movement, said, "Our strength has its roots in our solidarity." To preserve our hard-won achievements in democracy in Taiwan, we must demonstrate the will and strength of civil society, condemn the use of state violence and defend the freedom of speech.
We look forward to your participation in Vigil in Solidarity, and we request your attention to the following information:
Vigil in Solidarity
Time: 6.00-7.00pm everyday
Gathering Point: in front of the "Wild Strawberry" camp in Liberty Square
Cause of the Vigil Walk: Support the "Wild Strawberries" Student Movement, Safeguard Our Beloved Taiwan
Do's and Don'ts: The vigil walk should proceed in single file in silence. No food, no calling of slogans and no banners; only signs prepared by the vigil walk's organizer are allowed.
The vigil walk is initiated by the following civic groups:
Evil Assembly and Parade Act Modification Association (集遊惡法修法聯盟), Taiwan Association for Human Right (台灣人權促進會), Judicial Reform Foundation (民間司法改革基金會), Humanistic Education Foundation (人本教育基金會), Taiwan Labor Front (台灣勞工陣線), Taiwan Environmental Action Network (台灣環境行動網協會), Amnesty International Taiwan Section (國際特赦組織台灣總會), Taiwan Law Society (台灣法學會), Green Party (綠黨), Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (台灣環境保護聯盟), Awakening Foundation (婦女新知基金會), Campaign for Media Reform (媒體改造學社), Aborigine Rights Association (原住民權益策進會), Green Formosa Front (綠色陣線協會), Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (廢除死刑推動聯盟).
The original article with Mandarin and English is in http://action1106.blogspot.com/2008/11/blog-post_11.html