Mon, Apr 12, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Blue camp wants to rally on eve of inauguration

NOT ENOUGH The opposition yesterday threatened that more protests could be held if its pending application for another rally was denied

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

Riot police advance on demonstrators as they break up a huge protest over last month's controversial election on Saturday in Taipei.

PHOTO: AP

In the wake of Saturday's riot in front of the Presidential Office, the pan-blue camp yesterday announced that it will soon file an application for another mass demonstration at the same place on May 19, the eve of the presidential inauguration.

"If judicial controversies pertaining to the March 20 election cannot be solved smoothly, we will keep protesting," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Spokesman Justin Chou (周守訓) said.

Chou said that more protests might be held if the application for a demonstration was turned down by the Chung Cheng First Precinct of the Taipei Municipal Police Department.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), however, yesterday refused to reveal his government's stance on the issue.

"I think high-ranking officials of the pan-blue camp will discuss the issue soon. But I have to stress that the Taipei City Government will not abandon its responsibility to maintain law and order in the capital," Ma said.

In addition, Chou said that an urgent, comprehensive investigation into the identity of the instigators behind the riot on Saturday should be conducted in order to clarify who was responsible for the unrest.

He said that the pan-blue camp had nothing to do with trouble-makers with criminal records.

"We are looking forward to seeing a comprehensive investigation report that would clarify who actually instigated the riot behind the scenes," Chou said.

He said that the pan-blue camp was not associated with any rioters who used dangerous articles, such as slingshots and napalm, in the riot.

Police officers yesterday displayed weapons collected from the venue, including steel nails, metal rods, wooden sticks, bottles filled with gasoline, rocks and fire extinguishers.

Chou said that the pan-blue camp was sorry about social unrest resulting from a series of recent demonstrations involving its supporters, including mass protests in Taipei on March 27, April 3 and April 10.

"However, we suspect that an invisible power behind the scenes had been manipulating the situation in order to trigger irrational behavior at our mass meetings, which were carried out legally," Chou said.

He said President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should respond to protesters' requests immediately.

The pan-blue camp on Saturday called for the establishment of a special task force to probe the election-eve assassination attempt on Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

Chou said yesterday that the KMT could easily gather more than 100,000 of its supporters' signatures in a single day. The amount of signatures needed for a referendum to be initiated by the public on the topic is 83,000.

Chou said that people are desperate to learn the facts behind the shooting and he did not think US forensic scientist Henry Lee (李昌鈺) had provided all the answers.

Chou said that criminal motives, political problems and disputes about the procedure of medical treatment after the shooting remained unclear.

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