Fri, Mar 26, 2004 - Page 1 News List

DPP asks opposition to cancel protest

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday questioned the pan-blue camp's insistence on holding a massive demonstration tomorrow given that the DPP government has agreed to the opposition's demands.

The DPP had agreed to a recount as well as to a request that experts recommended by the blue camp investigate the assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

The DPP held a briefing for the international media yesterday to respond to doubts about the election as well as the assassination attempt last Friday.

The party reiterated that it wanted any recount to be conducted in a clean and transparent manner and that an investigation should be held into the shooting.

"We've already expressed our willingness to allow a general recount of the ballots. We've also agreed to welcome experts, including Dr. Henry Lee, recommended by the opposition parties to take part in the investigation of the attempted assassination," DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said yesterday.

"We are wiling to provide the entire truth. So is there still a need for such a demonstration on Saturday?" he asked.

Chang said the blue camp's refusal to go along with legal changes to allow an immediate recount stemmed from a fear it would be left without an excuse to hold the demonstration tomorrow.

legal means

He said the DPP expects social order and harmony to be maintained, adding that the legal mechanism, rather than extrajudicial means, should be used by those who question the outcome of the election.

The DPP said both it and Chen have rejected calls by the opposition to announce a state of emergency, calling the suggestion ridiculous and irresponsible.

"We know that the declaration of a state of emergency has in many countries been a formula for dictatorship because this emergency decree expands the power of the president and, to some extent, deprives the public of its usual rights and responsibilities," Chang said.

"To twist the constitutional framework to say that the mobilization of demonstrators to challenge the government amounts to a state of emergency under which a decree can be announced encourages any governing party or the president's supporters to demonstrate," he said. "This would give the president an excuse to declare a state of emergency and thus expand his own power."

The DPP said many of its supporters in the south have become agitated in the face of the blue-camp demonstration and have called on the party to stage a counter-demonstration tomorrow in front of the Presidential Office.

Chang said many party members have said they are frustrated about not being able to put an end to the ongoing blue-camp protest.

growing discontent

DPP Legislator Lin Yu-sheng (林育生) said party supporters in his constituency have called his office to express anger over the demonstrations and suggested mobilizing buses of pan-greens to besiege and "counter-attack" the pan-blue supporters.

Chang said the party has asked its supporters to exercise tolerance and self-restraint and to avoid provocative acts.

He said the DPP will ask party officials to refrain from mobilizing supporters to come to Taipei tomorrow, but added he can't guarantee individuals will not mobilize on their own to stage a counter-protest.

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