Sat, Mar 20, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blues cancel rallies

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance yesterday canceled its planned nationwide campaign rallies after President Chen Shu-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were wounded while campaigning in Tainan City.

The alliance's presidential candidate, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), condemned the act of violence against Chen and Lu, and sent them his regards.

"We are very stunned and shocked by the news that President Chen had been shot while campaigning in southern Taiwan," Lien said at a media conference at the KMT's headquarters in response to the shooting incident.

"We hope that Chen and Lu will soon recover from their wounds, and we would like to take this opportunity to sternly condemn all acts of violence," Lien said.

Unaware of the alliance's decision to cancel its mass campaign rallies, many pan-blue supporters gathered in front of the KMT headquarters from early yesterday afternoon.

Hundreds of pan-blue supporters also gathered at the CKS Memorial Hall in Taipei, where the pan-blue rally was originally to be staged. Many of them expressed disappointment upon hearing that the rally had been canceled.

Some pan-blue supporters dismissed the attack on Chen as a mere campaign stunt carried out by the pan-green camp.

"The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) can't stand to lose the election, so it pulls out this self-directed stunt to attract sympathy votes," a pan-blue supporter said in front of the KMT headquarters.

"[The shooting] is so fake," said another pan-blue supporter surnamed Lin. "Think about it: Who would want to assassinate Chen in Tainan, which is his hometown?"

Just hours ahead of the election, Lien announced at yesterday's media conference that the pan-blue alliance was calling off its planned rallies.

"The alliance has decided to suspend all its campaign rallies tonight in order to assure a peaceful and tranquil night for the electorate at this moment in time," Lien said.

He urged Chen's campaign team to also cancel pan-green campaign rallies.

The pan-blue camp had originally planned to simultaneously stage four campaign rallies in Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung last night. More than a million people in total were expected to take part in these rallies, which were aimed at giving Lien's election bid a final spin before voters go to the polls today.

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