TAIPEI, Taiwan — As Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved around Taiwan’s capital with her entourage on Wednesday, taking one meeting after another, the people of Taiwan shadowed her nearly every step of the way.
Many came to support her or to denounce her. Others were just curious. Some cheered with excitement over the American backing for Taiwan that Ms. Pelosi’s visit represented. Others shouted that she was causing unnecessary military tensions with China.
Susan Hung, a retired financial consultant, was part of a crowd of hundreds outside Taiwan’s Legislature, where Ms. Pelosi met with lawmakers in the morning. Ms. Hung had spent hours at the airport on Tuesday night, hoping to “see Pelosi with my own eyes,” and was now trying to catch a glimpse of her again — so far, in vain.
“After all, she is so old and still made the effort to come to Taiwan, so I want to take the time to come and see her,” said Ms. Hung, 58, who added that she was a supporter of the speaker.
Another retiree in the crowd, Li Kai-ti, a former academic, held a homemade banner that called Ms. Pelosi a phony. He accused her of “treating Taiwan as another Ukraine” and “treating the people of Taiwan as cannon fodder.”
“If you are serious about freedom and democracy, why don’t you resume diplomatic relations with Taiwan?” said Mr. Li, 71.
On the other side of the Legislature building, pro-China demonstrators said over loudspeakers that Ms. Pelosi was causing a “Taiwan Strait crisis.” One of their large banners read, “The United States should not interfere in China’s internal affairs,” a line commonly used by Chinese government officials.
Outside President Tsai Ing-wen’s offices, where Ms. Pelosi went next, the scene was calmer, with a heavier security presence. People took photos as the cars bearing Ms. Pelosi’s delegation swept down the empty, wide avenue in front of the historic structure, built more than 100 years ago when Taiwan was a Japanese colony.
Later in the day, Ms. Pelosi went to the National Human Rights Museum, where she was expected to meet with people who had been detained by the Chinese government. Chiu Ta, 91, a retired art history professor who was waiting outside the museum for Ms. Pelosi’s arrival, noted that the venue had been a detention center for political dissidents during Taiwan’s long years of martial law.
“This human rights museum is a representation and a record of the past dictatorship that oppresses human rights,” he said, adding that many political prisoners had gone on to become government officials after Taiwan became a democracy.
“Those persecuted by the Communist Party are Taiwan’s friends,” he said.