Wed, Sep 20, 2006 - Page 1 News List

`Reds' set to head back to Ketagalan

THE SHOW GOES ON Anti-Chen protesters will move back to their original site at midnight, after police warned them not to march back from the train station any earlier

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Days after the campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) moved to the Taipei Railway Station, organizers announced yesterday that they will lead protesters back to the original site on Ketagalan Boulevard tonight.

The anti-Chen camp's sit-in protest moved to the station on Saturday, as pro-Chen supporters received a permit to hold a rally at the location until 10pm today.

The anti-Chen camp, which originally announced that their supporters would begin to march back to the boulevard at 8pm tonight, later said that the march would begin at midnight. The Taipei City Police Department had warned organizers that they would be in violation of the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) if they returned to the boulevard earlier than the approved time -- midnight.

"If the crowds gather on Ketagalan Boulevard before midnight, the camp is violating the law and we will ask them to leave," department Commissioner Wang Cho-chun (王卓鈞) said yesterday during a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council.

In order to abide by the law, campaign spokesman Chang Fu-chung (張富忠) later changed the plan and said the camp will lead the crowd's "walk back" to the boulevard at midnight.

worried ma

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday seconded Wang's remarks, and expressed his opposition to the anti-Chen camp's plan to besiege the Presidential Office on "Double Ten Day" -- Oct. 10, the country's National Day, demanding the camp clarify what events it is planning.

"In Taipei City, we will not tolerate any violent demonstrations during Double Ten Day or any other days," Ma said yesterday at Taipei City Hall.

The leader of the anti-Chen campaign, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), on Monday called on people to join his plan to march to the Presidential Office on Oct. 10, wearing red clothes and making a thumbs-down gesture, to prevent the president from getting in and out of the office.

However, clashes between anti-Chen and pro-Chen crowds in Kaohsiung City, Ma said, had prompted the Taipei City Government to take preventive measures. He warned that the city government could revoke the protest's permit at any time.

"If there is any clear and present danger during the protest, we will re-consider whether or not the permit remains valid," Ma said.

When asked by several DPP Taipei City councilors whether the city government would allow Shih's camp to hold the "siege," Ma said the city government will not approve any events near the Presidential Office on Oct. 10.

"But the camp hasn't filed an application with us, either ... I hope that the camp will make clear its intentions, because it often changes its plans," Ma added.

Shih said that the "siege" would be launched regardless.

"The anti-Chen movement will follow Chen wherever he goes, like a shadow," Shih said.

Saying that the Oct. 10 siege will be peaceful, Shih expressed regret over the clashes between the two sides on Monday night in Kaohsiung City, but added that his camp had not been involved in the event.

The Shih camp has received a permit to hold sit-in protests on Ketagalan Boulevard from midnight on Sept. 21 until 10pm on Sept. 28. The right to use the boulevard will be given over to the Double Ten Day ceremony preparation committee from Sept. 29 to Oct. 12.

Chien Hsi-chieh, one of the anti-Chen camp's leaders, said the siege will not begin until the end of the celebration ceremony, saying the event will not hinder the ceremony.

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