The opening ceremony took place tonight was interrupted by a group of former government employees protesting nearby the entrance.
In the beginning of the ceremony, athletes are usually introduced and then walk into the area in alphabetical order of their respective country names. However, today the procedure stopped at “C” and the following countries came in with only a flag raiser and flag on the giant screen at the center of the arena.
It’s reported that the protesters, advocating their rights in the government’s pension fund system, tried to stop athletes from entering the gate (but denied); but the key factor was that someone in the group threw a smoke grenade and it was considered a precursor to a real bomb.
The police finally took action to remove the protesters and have the entrance cleared.
Delayed for about half an hour with only flags circling the arena, athletes were allow to enter the area in the original order. Since their flags had finished circling, the young participants just walked in casually, instead of formal “marching,” and interact with the exciting audience and each other.
The result was exceptionally good and unexpected: the audience gave doubled cheering and welcome as athletes busy taking pictures, running around, laughing and shaking hands with onlookers and their peers.
What a beautiful sight to behold.
To many of them, and to a Taipei citizen like me, it could be the most memorable opening ceremony.
So how about the protesters? Not too many care about what they want. People just remember that they almost f**ked up an international event with athletes from over 100 countries coming to Taiwan to enjoy their time and the city.