Mon, Sep 30, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Tens of thousands rally against Ma

POSTAL PROTEST:Dismissal letters were distributed to protesters who were asked them to sign and mail them to the Presidential Office as an expression of their anger

By Chris Wang, Loa Iok-sin, Tsai Ching-hua and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters and Staff writer

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), Taiwan Solidarity Union legislators Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) and Yeh Chin-ling (葉津鈴), as well as Ko and Hung Tzu-chien (洪慈綪), the eldest daughter of a 65-year-old fishermen who was killed by Philippine Coast Guard personnel in May, also participated in the protest.

Additionally, several young participants, who referred to themselves as “independent citizens concerned about the nation’s society,” gave speeches at the rally, saying that they wanted to let an “openly apathetic government” hear the people roar.

Han Ming-jung (韓明榮), head of the pro-independence Taiwan Southern Society that founded the southern anti-Ma alliance, said the rally had three main demands: that Ma and the “gang of four” step down immediately, that the cross-strait service trade pact be rescinded, and that any future international agreements be signed in a transparent manner, thoroughly explained to the public and subjected to supervision of and scrutiny at the legislature.

The “gang of four” refers to Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), former Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘), because they were part of Ma’s alleged premeditated plan to oust Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), protesters said.

Later in the afternoon, thousands of protesters gathered on Ketagalan Boulevard to urge Ma to apologize and step down as KMT chairman.

They also demanded a lowering the threshold for a recall, the abolition of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID).

Protesters took turns making one-minute speeches to the crowds on topics covering a wide range of issues, including Ma’s personal failures, as well as the incompetence of his administration, which was given the nickname ma-hsi-tuan (馬戲團) — meaning “circus.”

The participants seemed to represent various political affiliations, with several DPP politicians and supporters joining pro-KMT protesters at the event.

“The non-partisan rally wanted to provide an opportunity for ordinary citizens to have their voices heard by the Ma administration. We’ve never thought about a revolution, but we do hope for comprehensive reform,” said Ge Shu-ren (葛樹人), one of the eight event organizers.

Other than voicing opposition to Ma, Ge said the protest wished to lend support to the underprivileged, hoping that “there would never be another Chang Sen-wen (張森文) and Liu Chin-yi (劉進義),” referring to two men from Miaoli County and Taipei respectively who died recently.

However, Ge said that the organizers and the event had been treated unfairly by the media and received very little media coverage.

With the event being held on the Ketagalan Boulevard — rather than at National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall where the other protests were staged, the organizers were accused of of diverting crowds and shifting the public’s attention away from Ma and the KMT.

Taipei police said that about 6,000 people attended the rally, far below the organizers’ estimate of 50,000.

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