Sat, Dec 18, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Rice bomber's home supporters to protest next week


Thousands of activists and farmers are to rally next week in support of the so-called "rice bomber," who is accused of mounting a bombing campaign to protest rice imports, organizers said yesterday.

The activists and farmers, claiming that membership in the WTO is harming local rice producers, will take to the streets of the alleged bomber's hometown of Erlin in Changhua County to draw attention to his "plight."

"The government has ignored the welfare of farmers for a long time and has sacrificed their interests to join the WTO," said Lin Shen-ching (林深靖), director of the Democracy Action Alliance.

He said alleged bomber Yang Ju-men (楊儒門), arrested last month, was forced to resort to extreme measures to attract the government's attention.

The Council of Agriculture yesterday urged civic groups not to stage a rally to support Yang lest they send "the wrong message" to the public.

Council Vice Chairman Lee Chien-chuan (李健全) said Yang was a threat to society and that no matter what his motives were, he should be condemned.

The civic groups attempting to raise Yang's status to that of a tragic hero have distorted social values, he said.

Lee said the council welcomes civic groups to contact it, and hoped that the groups would gain a better understanding of the positives and negatives of WTO membership.

"Rashly mobilizing the public will definitely send the wrong message," Lee said.

Yang is accused of planting a bomb in a Taipei park in November last year with a note accusing the government of threatening the survival of local farmers.

Fifteen more bombs were found in parks, telephone booths and commuter trains in Taipei over the following months.

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