Mon, Apr 26, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Protests were `unsuccessful coup': Chen

BACKLASH President Chen Shui-bian yesterday called the pan-blue protests in Taipei an unsuccessful coup d'etat, whereupon the alliance threatened legal action

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Students surround President Chen Shui-bian and stretch out their arms in the hope of shaking hands with him at National Chiayi Senior High School yesterday.

PHOTO: YU HSUEH-LAN, TAIPEI TIMES

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance's protests in front of the Presidential Office from March 20 to March 27 were an "unsuccessful coup d'etat."

"Thank God it was not successful. Otherwise, I would not have had the opportunity to stand up here and speak with all of you and celebrate your school's anniversary. It is our fate," Chen said.

Chen made his remarks while he was attending the anniversary ceremony of the National Chiayi Senior High School yesterday morning. He said that Taiwan is blessed because both the assassination attempt on the lives of Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and himself, and the "seven-day coup d'etat," were unsuccessful. Moreover, Lu and he also won re-election.

Chen encouraged the students at the celebration to work hard, study hard and play hard. He called the high school a "premiers' alma mater" because former premiers Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) are both alumni.

In addition to criticizing the KMT-PFP alliance's protest activities, Chen also encouraged his fellow Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members to work hard for the year-end legislature election.

"I hope that half of the 225 seats in the Legislative Yuan will be filled by DPP members," Chen said.

"Maybe our future Legislative Yuan speaker will be a Chiayi Senior High School alumnus, too," he said.

In response to Chen's remarks, KMT Cultural and Communications Affairs Committee Director Alex Tsai (蔡正元) immediately issued a press release.

Tsai said in the press release that all the protest activities in front of the Presidential Office from March 20 to March 27 had been totally legal, authorized and had peaceful endings.

In addition, all the protesters' requests, including the recounting of ballots and the investigation of the assassination attempt, were reasonable.

Under an agreement by both parties, a full recount was scheduled to begin on May 10 and both parties hoped to finish the recount process before May 20. However, the DPP and the KMT-PFP alliance have yet to come up with an agreement on how a disputed ballot should be recognized and who will be responsible for paying all the expenses regarding the recount.

As for the assassination attempt, the investigation is at the same stage as a couple of weeks ago, as investigators had difficulties identifying the potential gunmen as well as the pistol, which is believed to be a homemade firearm.

"He [Chen] said just a few days ago that Taiwanese people should reunify and work together for our future. However, now he made up a charge against us. I do not know what kind of logic that is," Tsai said.

Tsai also said that the alliance will consider filing a slander suit against Chen if he is unable to provide evidence to prove his remarks against the alliance, or fails to apologize to the alliance within 24 hours.

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