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Protests disrupt opening of Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade

Protests disrupt opening of Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade
August 21, 2017

Opening ceremonies at Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade (World University Games) were temporarily disrupted on Saturday by protesters who blocked the student athletes from participating in the event's Parade of Nations.

The protesters were demonstrating against reforms in Taiwan's pension system for government employees and teachers.

Taiwanese media reported that most of the 7,700 athletes invited to the games did not get the chance to march, as Police feared navigating through crowds of protesters would not be safe.

Reports advised that only teams of nations with names starting with the first two letters of the alphabet were able to enter the stadium before protesters blocked the entrance.

Countries such as Argentina and Brazil were represented by their entire teams in the procession, but most nations were only represented by a single flag-bearer.

The Taipei city government and the island's ruling Democratic Progressive Party issued statements condemning the protesters' actions.

Athletes who could not join the parade were later able to enter the stadium later in the opening ceremonies.

While it has sent athletes to compete in the event, China boycotted the opening ceremony in the latest reflection of deteriorating relations between the two nations.

The biennial Summer Universiade, dubbed the 'Little Olympics', is the largest ever sporting event hosted by Taiwan but it has also highlighted tensions with Beijing and the island's struggle for international recognition.

Image: Protests meant athletes could not enter the stadium during the Parade of Nations. Courtesy Taipei 2017

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