UPDATE: It turns out that the two march routes are perpendicular to each other, and at one point their paths will cross. Hundreds of police are being mobilized to avert trouble.
Dueling Kaohsiung marches on December 21 will be widely viewed as a test of strength. On the one hand is a march in support of Kaohsiung Mayor Daniel Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) presidential run. On the other is a march in support of deposing the mayor in a recall vote. When the recall vote will be held has yet to be announced, but organizers have already prepared enough petition signatures to qualify legally for a recall vote to be held after the one year anniversary of Han taking off, which happens to be Christmas day. Organizers of the recall march are confident they will win the vote to recall Han, which could happen as soon as August. From the Taipei Times:
To recall the mayor, 25 percent of Kaohsiung’s electorate must vote in favor of recalling him, with the number of “yes” votes exceeding the “no” votes.
Considering that Han was elected mayor with nearly 890,000 votes, Wecare Kaohsiung estimated that at least 600,000 “yes” votes would be needed to recall him.
However, Han has decided to throw something of a wrench into the works:
Han welcomed people from around the world to join his anniversary march, but warned non-residents against attending the recall parade.
“It is absolutely not allowed for non-Kaohsiung residents to attend the march. It would be illegal,” he said on Wednesday.
The recall march is held by people “whose minds have been eclipsed by darkness,” he added.
Of course that is not legal and totally violates freedom of assembly, but perhaps he’s hoping that some will hear that call and stay away. However, since there is no overlap between his supporters and the recall supporters, that isn’t likely to have much of an impact.
The marches will be held in different areas, and according to the TT more police will be present to avoid clashes between the two.
While the recall march is to set off at 1:30pm from Wufu Road (五福路) and head toward Gongyuan Road (公園路), Han’s march is to begin at 1:11pm at the Aozihdi Forest Park (凹仔底森林公園) and end at the Smile Park
Both Han and his opponents have very passionate supporters. We’ll all be watching to see the turnout for both. Expect both to significantly inflate their numbers.
Image: supporters of the recall campaign, courtesy of Wecare高雄’s Facebook