The anti-corruption campaign aimed at President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday protested the indictment of its leader Shih Ming-teh (施明德), vowing to gather a team of lawyers to defend Shih in court.
The camp also urged the government to scrap the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法), which it said infringed on constitutional rights and concentrated too much power in the hands of police.
The group made the remarks following the Taipei Prosecutors Office's indictment of Shih and 15 other campaign officials on Friday on charges of violating the Assembly and Parade Law by leading thousands of red-clad supporters in an unregistered protest during last year's Double Ten National Day.
Shih at the time said he was leading protesters to "besiege" the Presidential Office and urge Chen to step down.
"We will announce the members of our defense team on Monday and our team will be bigger than the one that defended the people in the Kaohsiung Incident," campaign spokesman Jerry Fan (范可欽) told a press conference yesterday.
Chen, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (
While Shih failed to show up at the press conference, Fan said he would appear in court to represent himself.
"Shih is not feeling well as he is suffering from lung cancer, but he will definitely show up at court and will not request sick leave to avoid it," Fan said.
When asked about the use of NT$100 million (US$3 million) in funds the campaign gathered from the public, the camp's lawyer, John Wei (
Earlier yesterday morning, former Chinese Unity Promotion Party chairman and member of Shih's campaign Lin Cheng-chieh (
Fan, however, rejected Lin's remarks, saying the camp had no plans to organize a protest.
Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (
"President Chen's corruption prompted the Red Army to take action. He is the one who should shoulder responsibility for the rally," Ma said at Taipei Songshan Airport before visiting Matsu.
Ma said his party would seek to amend the Assembly and Parade Law so that protesters no longer need to apply for rally permits.
`LAW AND ORDER'
When approached for comment, Hsieh separately told reporters the campaign led by Shih should obey the Assembly and Parade Law even though the legislation is flawed.
"Some people say the law is problematic and can therefore be disregarded, but since we are a society of law and order, we still have to comply with the law," Hsieh said during a visit to Hualien.
Hsieh said that it was the responsibility of the pan-blue camp, which has the majority in the legislature, to amend the law.