Mon, Apr 12, 2004 - Page 2 News List

PFP legislators call Ma ` dumb,' warn him

REACTION Following Saturday night's violent pan-blue demonstration outside the Presidential Office, the People First Party laid much of the blame at the mayor's feet

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

People First Party (PFP) legislators yesterday blasted Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-Jeou (馬英九) as "dumb" because Ma instructed police to disperse the protesters who were involved in violence and bloodshed at Saturday night's pan-blue rally outside the Presidential Office.

Several PFP lawmakers held a news conference yesterday at which they warned Ma not to intervene in pan-blue rallies and not to be used by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全). They said the DPP wants to use Ma to create divisions in the pan-blue camp. They advised Ma not to allow himself to be fooled.

"I just wanted to remind Ma that what he did will only make our enemies happy but make his party members sad," PFP caucus whip Hsieh Chang-chieh (謝章捷) said.

Several female PFP lawmakers said that the police had trampled on them while the crowd was being dispersed and asked Ma to apologize.

When Ma visited female PFP Legislators Shen Chih-hui (沈智慧) and Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠), who were slightly injured and were treated in the hospital, he promised the two lawmakers that the city government would investigate what had happened to see if police had done anything inappropriate.

Taipei City Government spokesman Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said the city will deal with Shen and Chin's cases if the news media can provide video footage as evidence of what happened.

However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsiung (徐中雄) asked the PFP to stop attacking Ma. Hsu said that it was time for the KMT to criticize itself because of its defeat in the presidential election and said the party should stop the street protests.

"Ma didn't do anything wrong in dispersing the crowd. Ma has no need to apologize for what he did because so many people were hurt at the rally," Hsu said.

The police suspect that gangsters were involved in Saturday's pan-blue rally and that gangsters were the ringleaders among those who caused the rally to spiral into violence that caused about 100 injuries, said Wu Su-lu (吳思陸), the Taipei Police Bureau's Chungcheng First Precinct chief.

At a news conference held yesterday at 9:30am -- three hours after the people concentrated on Ketagalan Boulevard had finally been dispersed by the police, Wu reported that 127 people had been injured in the dispersal. Eighty-six were police officers and 41 were members of the general public, of whom 14 were reporters, Wu said.

The police arrested 21 individuals and found that six of them had criminal records. Some of those arrested were in possession of weapons, including slingshots, knives, gas cans and stones.

"It was obvious that gangsters and mobsters en masse were involved in the rally," Wu said.

The police arrested people who assailed the Chiehshou police station (介壽派出所), destroying the scaffolding and the barricades that separated them from the Presidential Office and from beat reporters, Wu said.

After Wu issued a command to start a third dispersal action at 12am yesterday, nearly 8,000 riot police moved toward a crowd of about 1,500 people and a violent clash broke out. People hit the police with canes and stones and threw petrol bombs at them. No one was hurt by the petrol bombs.

An elderly, retired veteran tried to kill himself with a fruit knife and was sent to the hospital.

Of the 14 reporters and photographers injured in the riot, several had been beaten by members of the crowd, who accused them of collecting evidence for the DPP.

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