Sun, Apr 11, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Student protesters accuse president of lack of integrity

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

The group of student protesters who have been staging a "hunger strike" in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial said early yesterday morning that they ended their strike as planned but would continue protesting.

Rejecting President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) offer to meet with them tomorrow, the protesters expressed disillusionment with the government.

"We made the time and conditions under which we wished to meet President Chen clear from the very beginning of our protest. For him to suddenly say that he has no time and suggest an alternate date indicates a lack of integrity and sincerity," said Chen Cheng-feng (陳政峰), a group representative and student at National Taiwan University's continued education division.

The protesters originally demanded that Chen meet them before yesterday. In response, Chen suggested a two-hour-long meeting in public tomorrow.

"We are ending the hunger strike because we need to consider the physical well-being of our members," Chen Cheng-feng said.

"The next step of our movement focuses on interacting with the people and encouraging them to join our sit-down protest. We are going to bring in more student protesters, and communicate with the public about our demands," he said.

The group's 20-odd members have been encamped at the memorial since April 2 and had been taking turns fasting for 12 hours at a time.

The group did not participate in the rally held yesterday by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP), saying that they had no political affiliations and thus no reason to join in. They expressed anger that the pro-blue camp had used images of them in newspaper ads for yesterday's rally and demanded that the PFP-KMT alliance apologize.

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