Wed, Aug 30, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Shih Ming-teh group plans practice sit-in sessions

STAFF WRITER

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) effort to depose Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is scheduled to launch "trial" sit-ins on Friday.

According to Jerry Fan (范可欽), a new spokesman for Shih's campaign, organizers will prepare 230 seats for the "trial" sit-in on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office between Sept. 1 and Sept. 7, and later at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall on Sept. 8.

Shih will officially begin the sit-in protest on Sept. 9 after Chen returns from a state visit to Palau.

Shih's movement has decided to launch "trial" protests first in order to boost interest in the event.

Fan made the announcement during a press conference at the Mayor Salon gallery in Taipei. He said that the 230 seats will be open to supporters between 6pm and 12am from Sept. 1 to Sept. 8.

Shih's camp is set to give a series of speeches from 6pm to 10pm during the period.

Since a pro-independence group has obtained a permit to hold a rally on Ketagalan Boulevard on Sept. 8, Fan said that the "trial" protest will be moved to the CKS Memorial Hall on that day.

"There will be 2,300 seats when the protest officially begins, symbolizing the 23 million people of Taiwan," said Fan, who once worked as an image consultant for the president.

Fan said that people can book "sit-in" seats online or in person. Each person will be allowed to participate in the event for one hour.

"We are fighting against a corrupt group, not the heat," Fan said. "In order to save people's passion and energy in the face of the extremely hot weather, everyone only has to sit there for one hour."

He said that if 2,300 people take a seat in the sit-in each hour, that would mean that a total of 41,400 people a day could participate in the 18-hour long protests. If those numbers were met, the total number of participants would exceed 1 million people over a 24-day period.

Fan also announced that the name of the campaign has been changed from "anti-Chen" to "anti-corruption" in order to clarify the nature of the event.

"This is not a confrontation between Shih and the government," he said. "The real purpose of the campaign is to unseat the corrupt president, not the DPP administration."

Because more people are expected to participate in the sit-in on weekends, Fan said people who want to join in on weekends should book their seats online in advance.

"The seats for weekends will be hot," Fan said. "So book your seats ASAP!"

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