Representatives of nearly 100 temples around Taiwan will walk to Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei on Saturday in what is described as the biggest event of its in history, prompting police to impose traffic controls on some road sections that day.

A temple federation initiated by the Beigang Wude Temple in Yunlin County for the cause of defending religious belief and guarding tradition, planned the "Biggest in History, Gods on Ketagalan" parade in an appeal for autonomous management in the religious sector.

The organizers predicted that the parade will be joined by some 10,000 people from approximately 100 temples in response to an Internet rumor that the government is planning to ban the burning of incense and ghost money in an effort to improve air quality.

The government, however, has denied the rumor.

The misleading online claims have angered some temples, which have accused the relevant authorities of singling out incense-burning while turning a blind eye to industrial pollution.

Temples have accepted a "one burner, one incense stick" proposal to help protect the environment, and have agreed to burn ghost money collectively in an incinerator, some temple representatives said.

Nevertheless, they continued, they are not happy that the environmental protection authorities do not reinforce measures to crack down on producers of industrial pollution but instead attack ancient tradition.

Wude Temple Chairman Lin An-le (林安樂) said the rally is not a protest, but a campaign for an appeal for "autonomous management."

Taipei police confirmed that the religious federation has been given permission to hold the rally and parade on Ketagalan Boulevard, Zhongshan South Road, Xinyi Road and Aiguo East Road.

Two-stage traffic controls will be imposed on the affected road sections, with the first stage to take place on Ketagalan Boulevard from midnight Saturday to 10 p.m. Sunday.

The second-stage traffic controls will be conducted on Zhongshan South Road, Re'ai Road Section 1, Xinyi Road Section 1 and Aiguo East Road from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, the police said, advising motorists to avoid the affected areas.

Read more:
The Way of the Gods – Folk Religion in Taiwan
Using Religion Against Itself: State-Managed Buddhism and Chinese-Mongolian Relations