Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) city councilors yesterday staged a sit-in on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei, urging President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to apologize for his policy on US beef imports and to re-freeze fuel and electricity prices, vowing sustained protests if he fails to take action.
“We will not leave until Ma apologizes. We will keep coming back here even if we are forced to leave,” Greater Tainan City Councilor Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said.
The sit-in marked the first of a series of protests to come before and on May 20 against Ma’s poor performance. The DPP also plans to launch petitions to recall Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators in their constituencies, Wang said.
Taipei City Councilor Tung Chung-yen (童仲彥), Greater Kao-hsiung City Councilor Chen Hsin-yu (陳信瑜) and Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘), a legislative candidate in Chiayi County during the January elections, said if Ma did not apologize they would protest until his second inauguration on May 20.
The DPP announced last week that it plans to hold an anti-Ma march and rally in Taipei on May 19 in which about 100,000 people are expected to participate.
The protesters will follow three routes, with assembly points at National Taiwan University, Wanhua Railway Station and the Songshan Tobacco Plant, and converge at the intersection of Beiping E Road and Linsen N Road for the rally in the evening.
Another demonstration, organized by the Taiwan Solidarity Union for May 20, will begin where the DPP holds its night rally and end in front of the Presidential Office, acting as the “second leg” of the mass anti-Ma protest.
Also dissatisfied with Ma, civic groups led by the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan have scheduled protests from May 13 through May 21 at the Taipei Railway Station.
Meanwhile, at a meeting yesterday, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) suggested Ma adjust electricity prices “in a gradual manner” and “in stages.”
Wang told reporters last night that he made the suggestion at a meeting at the Presidential Office and that Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) agreed with him.
Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) and Presidential Office Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) also attended the meeting.
“I wish the government will reconsider the price increase proposal and solicit views from all walks of life,” Wang said.
The proposal is set to take effect on May 15.
Wang declined to reveal how Ma reacted to his suggestion.
Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said rationalizing oil and electricity prices was set in stone and part of Ma’s “golden decade” agenda. However, the president would continue to communicate with various sectors of society on how to implement the policy, he said.
Government Information Office Minister Philip Yang (楊永明) said last night that the Ministry of Economic Affairs would look into Wang’s proposal.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan