Calling themselves “snails without shells”, about 20,000 Taiwanese on Saturday camped out overnight with tents and sleeping bags on Taipei’s Renai Road to protest against soaring home prices, Ming Pao Daily reported on Monday.
The demonstrators congregated in front of The Palace, a luxury residential complex on Renai which is considered as the most expensive real estate on the island. They demanded that the government return to the people the land grabbed by corrupt government officials and unscrupulous businessmen.
The Housing Movement, as the coalition of more than 100 civic groups call themselves, also said the people’s right to housing should be enshrined in the constitution. They urged mayoralty candidates in six major cities in next month’s elections should clarify their positions on housing.
Although home prices in Taipei are far lower than those in Hong Kong, they are less affordable, according to the newspaper.
Home prices in the capital city are more than 15 times the average annual household income, longer than 14.9 years in Hong Kong, according to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior. That makes Taipei among the world’s most expensive cities for housing, the report said.
The ministry said on Sunday it will push for a plan to balance development between cities and rural areas, which it said could encourage young people return to their hometowns to work and own their homes.
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