Sat, Sep 09, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Police vow to keep order at Shih rally

KEEP IT PEACEFUL Organizers expect hundreds of thousands of people to take part, while police warned they must obey the law or their permit will be revoked

By Jimmy Chuang and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Organizers say 350,000 people will attend protests calling for the president's ouster today, while law enforcement officials yesterday said they have made adequate preparations to ensure that the event is peaceful and reminded participants of their obligation to conduct themselves lawfully.

Police officials said that should there be any violations of the law, the permit for the protest will be suspended and the crowd will be dismissed immediately.

"The organizers of the activity have signed a statement saying they will ensure that participants of the activity will follow the law. If there are any violations, the police will immediately enforce the law, suspend the permit and dismiss the crowd," said Lee Chin-tien (李金田), director of the Taipei City Police Department's Zhongzheng First Precinct.

Lee made the remarks during a press conference yesterday.

The statement that the protest organizers signed said that participants may not use horns or loud-speakers between 10pm and 7am and may not disrupt traffic during rush hours; that no lethal weapons or flammable items are allowed at the scene; and that protesters must disperse no later than midnight next Saturday.

Lee said that the precinct's 514 officers will be the main police force maintaining public order during the protest, which will be held from today to next Saturday. If more staff is needed, officers from the Zhongzheng Second Precinct will join the force upon request at any time.

"Another 2,300 officers from the department's other precincts will be standing by in case things get out of hand," said Wang Yung-hui (王永惠), deputy commissioner of the Taipei City Police Department.

Wang also said that the police would be flexible, because they were not able to collect sufficient information about how many participants will show up.

According to Jerry Fan (范可欽), spokesman for the campaign, approximately 350,000 people will participate in the sit-in, and the protest area may expand from Ketagalan Boulevard to Jianguo S Road.

march

Former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), the organizer of the campaign, will begin the event after delivering a speech against corruption at 3pm in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard.

He will then lead the crowd in marching in circles around Jing Fu Men (景福門), a traditional-style gate located in a traffic circle near the Presidential Office.

Protesters will be asked to sit down and remain silent at about 6pm, and a "special guest" will give a musical performance at 9pm, Fang said.

The camp also said the expected 350,000 protestors would read a "Million Voices Against Corruption Pledge" together at 6pm.

"I am attending the Million Voices Against Corruption movement," the pledge runs, according to organizers. "I promise to dedicate myself to democracy. I will join this sit-in with conscience and dignity."

"Anti-corruption and demanding A-bian to step down are my beliefs. I will not tolerate any violence or ethnic issues getting involved. I will try my best to show the strength of silent resistance and set a good example for future generations," the pledge continues.

Chang Fu-chung (張富忠), a member of the anti-Chen camp's decisionmaking committee, attacked recent comments that the sit-in protest had turned into a carnival.

civic movement

"The sit-in is a civic movement. People are showing their willpower to fight against corruption and President Chen. It's not a carnival or a show," he said at the camp's headquarters.

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