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'Bluebird Movement' supporters rally in Paris for Taiwan democracy

06/10/2024 09:18 PM
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Paris, Sunday. CNA photo June 10, 2024
Paris, Sunday. CNA photo June 10, 2024

Paris, June 9 (CNA) Overseas Taiwanese nationals held a rally in Paris on Sunday in support of the recent "Bluebird Movement" and called for people to unite to safeguard democracy and freedom.

The rally, which also showed support for Taiwan at the upcoming Olympic Games, was held on a ferry ride along the Seine River that started from the Place de la Bastille and passed several landmarks, including the Louvre Palace and the Notre Dame cathedral.

Standing on the boat's open deck, where a banner that read "Team Taiwan: Freedom, Diversity and Pride" in French was hanging, participants chanted slogans in support of Taiwan and their opposition to what they see as the Legislature's abuse of power.

Liga, a Taiwanese supporter of the Bluebird Movement who helped organize the Paris rally, said the words "Freedom, Diversity and Pride" were chosen because they symbolize Taiwanese values and also align with France's national motto -- "liberty, equality, fraternity."

Paris, Sunday. CNA photo June 10, 2024
Paris, Sunday. CNA photo June 10, 2024

The Bluebird Movement arose after the Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People's Party (TPP) joined forces to pass amendments to the Law Governing the Legislative Yuan's Power in May that would give legislators greater investigative powers.

The party that has been in power since 2016, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), objected to the measures, arguing that they were unconstitutional and represented legislative overreach.

People also took to the streets to protest and echoed DPP contentions that the measures were anti-democratic because they were not thoroughly discussed and were passed without following proper procedures.

The KMT and TPP saw the amendments as an "important milestone" in advancing Taiwan's democracy, arguing they were necessary to strengthen the system's checks and balances because lawmakers were able to do little more than request reports from the government.

Legislative procedures were strictly followed in passing the measures, and the amendments would give Taiwan legislative oversight that has long existed in most democratic countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, they said.

In a rare move, the Cabinet has said it will send the measures back to legislators to be reconsidered.

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Paris, Sunday. CNA photo June 10, 2024
Paris, Sunday. CNA photo June 10, 2024

The protests that arose in Taiwan have spread overseas. On June 4, hundreds of overseas Taiwanese gathered at Times Square in New York in support of the movement to show their commitment to Taiwan's democracy.

Liga said the initial plan in Paris had been to put up signs supporting the Bluebird campaign on billboards in Paris, but were all booked by Olympic sponsors a year ago, so the rally Sunday was held on a ferry.

Because the opening ceremony of the Summer Games will take place on the Seine in July, she said the Sunday rally was also meant to welcome in advance Taiwanese athletes coming to Paris to compete.

According to Liga, funds for the Paris rally were raised from overseas supporters of the movement.

Democracy and freedom are achieved through collective struggle, Liga said, expressing hope that they can promote support for Taiwan through international media.

Lin Li-hua (林麗華), a Taiwanese expatriate, said democracy is not something that falls out of the sky and expressed admiration for the young Taiwanese involved in the movement.

If it were not for democracy and the support of a common cause, there would have been no way so many people would have come forward together in such a short timeframe to voice their opposition to the Legislature's move, Lin said.

The Paris rally brought together nearly 100 participants on Sunday.

(By Tseng Ting-hsuan and Ko Lin)

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