Rally in Taiwan protests huge weaponry procurement plan
Tens of thousands of residents in Taiwan rallied on September 25 afternoon against 18.2 billion US dollar plan to purchase advanced weapons from the United States, which was proposed by Taiwan authorities.
Demonstrators called for the authorities to use the money instead to help the unemployed and students.
People from all walks of life, students to teachers to artists, joined the rally, whose major organizer is Democracy Action Alliance, a non-governmental organization.
The protesters marched for about three hours before they gathered before a square of the office of the leaders of Taiwan authorities.
Taiwan authorities approved the special budget of 610 billion Taiwan dollars (18.2 billion US dollars) for the purchase of advanced weaponry shortly after local election of leaders of Taiwan authorities in March.
The plan to purchase 388 "Patriot" missiles, eight submarines, 12 anti-submarine planes and other weapons from the United States was unveiled on June 2. Authorities planned to raise the money by selling stocks, land and bonds.
The plan outraged thousands of local residents and prompted criticism from the general public.
Recently, 11 academicians from the "Central Research Academy" in Taiwan and nearly 200 retired generals signed a petition in protest against the procurement plan. They were later joined by several university presidents and a dozen of non-governmental organizations.
Academician Lin Yu-Sheng said the society in Taiwan should protest the drastic move by the authorities before it is too late. Another academician Hsu Cho-Yun said the authorities should spend the huge amount of money on improving cross-Straits relations and the economy, not on armaments.
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