Mon, Mar 22, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Kaohsiung mayor asks for calm

MAINTAIN SECURITY Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh urged the city's residents to control themselves, after incidences of violence erupted after the election on Saturday

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN KAOHSIUNG

Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh yesterday talks about blue-camp supporters' violence at the local court. Accompanying Hsieh, at center, is senior police officer and incumbent Vice Mayor Yao Kao-chiao.

PHOTO: YUTZU CHIU, TAIPEI TIMES

After a violent incident occurred in front of the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office early yesterday morning during a protest, Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) urged supporters of both camps in the city to stay calm in order to maintain public security.

"We should not let the violence carried out by the pan-blue camp after the election set a precedent," Hsieh said at a press conference.

The violence would be a very bad example, which might be imitated by losers in future elections, Hsieh said.

Hsieh urged the city's green-camp supporters to respect the right of the pan-blue camp to seek judicial assistance in clarifying suspicious points about the presidential election, in order to lower the risk of disintegrating the fragile foundation of mutual trust in society.

"The city government will leave all the pan-blue camp's accusations about polling stations to the court to decide," Hsieh said.

Yesterday morning, the Kaohsiung District Court sealed all ballot boxes in Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County. In addition, the court kept all information about electoral affairs, including the name lists of both voters and staff at the polling stations.

On Saturday evening, hundreds of pan-blue supporters lamenting the loss of the election gathered in front of the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office to protest.

Led by Lin Shiang-nung (林享能), in charge of the pan-blue camp's campaign in Kaohsiung, residents sang songs loudly and shouted slogans agitatedly. Some even cried.

Lin listed nine doubtful points to do with the election, urging the government to seal ballot boxes for recounting. He claimed there were irregularities at many polling stations in the city.

A campaign truck rammed into the building's iron gate, injuring some residents and seven police officers on duty. More than 500 police officers were on duty to handle the violent incident. The crowd did not leave the scene until 4am yesterday morning.

Some pan-blue supporters were yesterday still offering evidence and clues about irregularities about the election to their camp's chapter in the city.

Hsieh Hsiu-neng (謝秀能), director-general of Kaohsiung Municipal Police Department, said yesterday that all evidence about the violent incident would be further analyzed to identify the lawbreakers.

Mayor Hsieh stressed that it was time for the city's residents to reveal their democratic self-discipline.

"At this moment, the foundation of mutual trust in our society is relatively fragile. Both sides have to respect each other in order to mend the cracks in society," Hsieh said.

He said that his planning for the city's future development would further receive support from the central government because the DPP remains the ruling party.

Hsieh said that he was sorry to see foreign media reports that Taiwan's political situation would be turbulent.

"In fact, I'd like to urge foreign investors to come to Kaohsiung to seek business opportunities because influential steel-making and petrochemical industries are here," Hsieh said.

Hsieh said that he would urge the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to keep in mind that both camps were supported by more than 6 million voters.

Hsieh believed that listening to different opinions would effectively mend the cracks in society created by the presidential election.

"Let's move on. Most people need a society allowing them to sleep well, eat well and make a profit from real-estate or stock market deals," Hsieh said.

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