Sat, Oct 14, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Anti-Chen rally to scale back hours

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The campaign aimed at ousting President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) announced yesterday it would shrink the scale of its round-the-clock sit-in, starting today.

The announcement came amid criticism from opponents and supporters following the illegal protest in Taipei on Tuesday that became an overnight sit-in on Zhongxiao W Road.

While the central government condemned the disturbances brought about by the demonstration, some supporters questioned what they termed the "indecisive leadership" of the campaign, citing leaders' decision to retreat from the road on Tuesday night.

The camp yesterday said it had decided to do so to preserve its energy for the long-term movement.

The campaign said it will reduce its sit-in to four hours per day, and that it will not launch any large-scale protests until Prosecutor Eric Chen (陳瑞仁) releases the results of his probe into Chen's special presidential allowance fund.

"Considering the hardships endured by the police and the press over the past month, our financial situation and the people's anxiety, we have decided to scale down the protest," campaign spokesman Jerry Fan (范可欽) told a press conference yesterday.

In response to the Taipei City Police Department's decision to revoke the campaign's permit for a sit-in on Ketagalan Boulevard from today through Oct. 27, Fan said they respected the decision and would stay at the current site on the south plaza of Taipei Railway Station and continue protesting between 6pm and 10pm every night.

Dismissing allegations that the campaign was losing momentum, Chang Fu-chung (張富忠), campaign news coordinator, said it respected criticism and will continue its fight against corruption.

In response to questions from the Democratic Progressive Party over the campaign's finances, Lu Tai-nien (呂台年), a deputy coordinator, said NT$41 million (US$1.2 million) of the NT$110 million received in donations had been spent.

Around NT$21 million was spent on newspaper advertisements, while other big items included deposits for the use of public places (NT$390,000) and salary payments to workers (NT$406,000), Lu said.

Both Lu and Fan dismissed accusations made by Fei-Fang Weekly magazine that they had profited from the campaign and urged the magazine to provide evidence.

The magazine accused Fan, a well-known advertising executive, of giving the campaign's ad projects to his own agency.

Fan said that he would release details of its finances in a few days.

Lee Hsin (李新), a deputy coordinator, said yesterday that the campaign would reapply for a permit to gather on Ketagalan Boulevard, while applying for another permit to hold rallies in front of the Taipei Railway Station from Oct. 19 to Nov. 1 as a backup plan.

The campaign has permission to stay at Taipei Railway Station until Oct. 18.

Ma said the police department revoked the campaign's permit because it had failed to follow the conditions required by the city government during its illegal protest, but the police might grant the campaign new permits if it starts obeying the rules.

Also see story:
Evidence alone will decide the outcome of probe: Eric Chen

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