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Civic group planning anti-nuclear protest parade for March

2013/01/04 20:26:20

Taipei, Jan. 4 (CNA) A Taipei-based non-government environmental protection organization has decided to hold an anti-nuclear demonstration parade in March in an attempt to stop a controversial planned nuclear power plant from being given the green light to begin commercial operations.

The planned parade is slated for March 9, two days before the second anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011 in Japan, a spokesman for the Green Citizens' Action Alliance said Friday.

According to the preliminary plan, Taipei and Kaohsiung will be the locations for simultaneous protest parades. However, the alliance is still working on details of the planned event, which will be the follow-up to an anti-nuclear flag-raising campaign the organization launched last October, the spokesman said.

The alliance seeks to make the public ponder "whether or not Taiwan is the right place for nuclear power," the spokesman said.

On Oct. 10 last year, when the Republic of China celebrated its Double Ten National Day, the Green Citizens' Action Alliance launched a campaign calling for people nationwide to hoist anti-nuclear flags instead of the national flag.

Since then, over 4,000 white flags bearing the slogans "No Nukes -- No more Fukushima," printed in both Chinese and English, have been hung at more than 4,000 different locations around Taiwan, according to the organization.

Taiwan has three operating nuclear power plants, two of which are situated in New Taipei in northern Taiwan, while the other is in Pingtung County in the south.

Since 1999, the state-run Taiwan Power Co. has been constructing a fourth, also in New Taipei. Because of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, however, commercial operations at the No. 4 plant have been indefinitely postponed from the scheduled 2011.

The nuclear catastrophe in northeastern Japan in 2011, the largest nuclear disaster since Russia's Chernobyl disaster of 1986, boosted Taiwan's anti-nuclear voice as public fear mounted that a similar disaster could strike Taiwan, which, like Japan, is located on a seismic belt.

Out of concern over nuclear safety, the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party has drafted a nuclear-free homeland bill, which is being reviewed at the Legislative Yuan.

Under the draft bill, Taiwan must become nuclear-free by 2025.

(By Zoe Wei and Elizabeth Hsu)