On July 23, Beigang's Wude Temple launched a demonstration of the faithful from temples all over Taiwan to Kategelan Boulevard. This was to protest against the DPP government's rumored plans to ban the burning of incense, paper money and setting off of firecrackers. The lively demonstration arrived at the Boulevard in the afternoon. Over 100 temples and shrines processed in the road around the Liberty Plaza park and then on to Kategalen Boulevard. Prior to the demonstration, the government made a last -itch attempt to persuade them that the move was to reduce, not ban, use of incense. Apparently, before the demonstration started, the DPP administration arrived at a compromise of one stick of incense in one censer. ==NS== Around 2 pm the faithful from over one hundred temples and shrines across Taiwan gathered at Liberty Plaza and set off towards the Jingfu Gate. They carried gods on sedan chairs, which were carried over the prostrate disciples lying on the road. Temple singer, Lai Ming-wei, and traditional temple dances formed part of the procession. ==LAI MING-WEI singer== Reducing incense should be a decision for each individual temple, I think that on matters of religious faith, there should be no interference, and every temple should be able to decide for itself. Before setting out, on FB, Lai said that he grew up around a temple, and took part in temple processions all his life, and for him, the scent of burning incense signified a great power. He hoped to call on people to come together on the streets to defend traditional customs. Despite the intense heat, many believers came out to support the procession. ==DISCIPLE== Because I think the custom of burning incense should not be stopped. (So you support their demands?) Yes because I think it is unjust. The organisers said that over 10,000 people attended. Originally it was planned for all the gods to be in place at 3 pm, but it took over an hour for them to all arrive at the Boulevard. The protest organiser, director of Beigang's Wude Temple, Lin An-le took the platform and said that he had been asked why the demonstration was held. ==LIN AN-LE Director of Beigang's Wude Temple== Originally it was one furnace to burn paper money and three incense censers, and many of us temples regulated ourselves to have one censer and one stick of incense, right? The government uses the excuse of environmental protection to exercise too much control and actively manage us, so we feel anxious and worried about our incense, but we all feel that this tradition cannot be broken, right? Lin emphasised that one censer, one stick of incense was the bottom line, but that each temple should be allowed to decide for itself whether to reduce furnaces and incense burning. He said that the government should respect them and not interfere. In the morning, the Environmental Protection Administration Minister Lee Ying-yuan personally demonstrated that the reduction in incense policy was a reduction not a halt by visiting Lungshan Temple and offering incense. ==LEE YING-YUAN Environmental Protection Minister== It is easy to confuse 'reduction' with a halt to the practise, in fact, we can reduce the burning of money, incense, and setting off firecrackers, use less paper, less incense and fewer firecrackers. The presidential office there was no policy to halt the burning of incense, but it would respectfully encourage temples to burn less. It would also proactively control imported paper money and incense. TRANSLATED BY:CLARE LEAR 北港武德宮發起眾神上凱道遶境活動,下午熱鬧登場,上百間宮廟、神尊,從中正紀念堂出發,並繞道中正紀念堂外圍道路一圈,再前進凱道,訴求環保機關,減香不應該違反比例原則,一香一爐是底線,各宮廟是否要封爐、減爐,公部門應該尊重,不要介入。 ==NS==出發 下午兩點多,百間宮廟陣頭,齊聚中正紀念堂「自由廣場」,往景福門方向出發。信眾看到神轎,紛紛下跪、稜轎腳,為「眾神上凱道」遶境活動,拉開序幕。接著由歌手、寺廟宮主賴銘偉打頭陣,浩浩蕩蕩展開行動。 ==歌手 賴銘偉== (減香)可以讓各個宮廟來自決 那我覺得只要是信仰上面 能夠讓大家得到安定 各個宮廟 都有自己的做法 賴銘偉出發前,就在臉書表示,他從小在廟口、陣頭中長大,香火信仰是他生命奮起的最重要力量,所以希望號召群眾,一同上街捍衛傳統習俗。而遶境過程中,有不少信眾,頂著大熱天,站出來支持相挺。 ==信眾== 因為我覺得香火不能斷啊 (所以是滿支持他們的訴求?) 對啊 因為我覺得這樣很沒有天理 主辦單位估計參與信眾,超過萬人,原定下午三點所有神尊,就會就定位,但延了一個多小時,才終於陸續抵達凱道。「眾神上凱道」發起人、北港武德宮主委林安樂,在主舞台上,自嘲自己一夕爆紅,近來也一直被問到,究竟為何上凱道? ==北港武德宮主委 林安樂== 本來一座爐三炷香 我們現在很多寺廟都自主減量 一爐一炷香 做得很好對不對 (對) 政府用環保這個議題 在過度的管控 積極的管理 讓大家會產生一個憂慮 一個擔憂 大家都覺得香火不能斷 對不對 林安樂強調,一香一爐是底線,但各宮廟是否要封爐、減爐,公部門應該尊重,不要刻意介入。上午環保署長李應元,則用行動證明減香政策,並非滅香政策,特別前往龍山寺舉香參拜。 ==環保署長 李應元== 容易和 滅 搞混 其實我們減金 減香 減炮 也可以用少金 少香 少炮 總統府則表示沒有所謂的滅香政策,但會在尊重的前提下「鼓勵減燒」,積極管理進口金紙和線香的品質。 記者 黃怡菁 郭俊麟 應磊奇 台北報導