Wed, Apr 07, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Mind your own business: Ma

POWER PLAY Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said the Constitution would be breached if the Cabinet moved to block the pan-blue camp's next rally, scheduled for Saturday

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City councilors Hsu Kuo-yung, left, Wang Shi-chien, center, and Lu Ying-ying, right, of the Democratic Progressive Party raise their fists as they call upon Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou to retract permission for a pan-blue rally on Saturday. They told a press conference yesterday that they will initiate a recall if Ma fails to act.

PHOTO: LIAO CHENG-HUI, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei City Government officials yesterday said the Constitution would be violated if the Cabinet blocked a pan-blue camp rally on April 10, saying the decision to revoke the permit belonged to the Taipei City Police Bureau.

Taipei City Government spokesman Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), relaying a statement by Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), said the Cabinet had no right to interfere in the affairs of local government, let alone revoke the permit of a rally on behalf of the city government.

"The central government may only function in an acting capacity for the Taipei City Government if the city government does not execute its responsibilities," Wu said. "But this is not the case now."

Wu said that Ma had urged people to refrain from exerting political influence on the police bureau, which had the authority to revoke the permit and which, he said, should be allowed room to make a decision according to its professional judgment.

Wu said that a letter from the Cabinet to the city government suggesting it block the rally had violated the Constitution.

The city's Law and Regulation Commission director, Chen Ching-hsiu (陳清秀), said that "only when apparent and immediate danger occurs can a rally be canceled," otherwise the Constitution, which guarantees the right to hold rallies, would be violated.

Wu also cited the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法), stressing that it was the organizers of the April 10 rally, and not the city government, that would take responsibility if any accidents or turmoil occurred.

"The city government has asked the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and People First Party [PFP] alliance to come up with a comprehensive plan to cope with any incidents on April 10," Wu said, adding that the alliance promised to dispatch a team to monitor public order on Saturday.

On Monday night, when PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) visited students on a "hunger strike" at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, he threatened to lead students to march on the Presidential Office during the rally if Chen did not respond to the pan-blue camp's appeals.

Asked if Soong's words amounted to "apparent and immediate danger," Wu said they were simply Soong's personal opinion and the city government believed that Soong would "adjust his words and actions."

He said the city government would improve communication with the pan-blue camp to avoid such a situation.

Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilors Wang Shih-chien (王世堅), Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) and Lu Ying-ying (呂瀅瀅) yesterday held a news conference to urge Ma to revoke the permit for the April 10 rally.

Otherwise, the trio said, they would launch a recall campaign against Ma based on the volume of complaints they had received from Taipei City residents.

"Ma has neglected the voices and feelings of a large number of residents and continued to allow illegal rallies and riots to break out in Taipei City, which has seriously impacted on people's lives and stained Taipei's reputation," Wang said.

Wang added that the recall campaign would sound a warning to Ma for neglecting his duties as mayor.

As of press time last night, neither Ma nor the Taipei City Police Bureau had announced whether permission for the April 10 rally would be revoked.

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