Fri, Mar 25, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Mayor Ma denies some permits to march organizers

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) denied permits to the organizers of tomorrow's "Anti-Secession" Law protest for use of the roads beside and in front of the Presidential Office, saying that it was necessary to protect President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who announced yesterday that he would join in the march with his family.

"If the Taipei City Government insists on making the roads around the Presidential Office an interdiction area and positions barricades and riot police there, it will only harm the image of Taiwan's democracy and expose Ma's inability to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring the president's safety," DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said yesterday afternoon at a news conference, during which the DPP announced the detailed schedule for the event.

Lee said that the march tomorrow will be a "carnival-like event" and that music and poetry recitations will feature prominently in the rally at the main gathering place, which was initially scheduled to be on Ketagelan Boulevard.

None of the political figures and government officials taking part in the march will step on the rally stage and make speeches, he said.

"This is not a political activity, but more of a cultural activity that aims to express the voice of the people of Taiwan," Lee said. "We hope Ma will reconsider his decision, and we think it is inappropriate for him to relate tomorrow's march to the pan-blue camp's protest at the same place last March."

Backtracking on its previous announcements, the Taipei City Government denied permits for participants to gather on Ketagelan Boulevard, in the north and south squares in front of the Presidential Office and on part of Chungching S Rd. This decision will prevent about 230,000 people from rallying in these locations, Lee said.

"We will keep communicating with the city government," Lee said. "But with or without Mayor Ma's permission, one thing that is certain is that we won't hold an event that violates the law."

According to Lee, the march set for tomorrow will start from 10 different places in Taipei City at about 2:30pm, with each route dubbed a different name, to symbolize confronting the 10 clauses of China's law.

The names of the 10 groups are the "Protecting Democracy Team," "Peace-Loving Team," "Freedom-Loving Team," "Union-Loving Team," "Protecting the Homeland Team," "Defending Taiwan Team," "Anti-Aggression Team," "Anti-Threat Team," "Anti-Annexation Team" and "Anti-Missile Team."

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) will join in the seventh route as part of the "Anti-Aggression Team," which has been organized by pro-independence groups. Before hitting the road, the former president will give a speech to the ninth route for the "Anti-Annexation Team," which has been organized by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and will be led by TSU Chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強).

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) will take the first route with the "Protecting Democracy Team," and all the teams will lead to Ketagalan Boulevard where two "spiritual forts" will be constructed.

One fort will be a white "democratic pearl" which symbolizes the peace-loving spirit of Taiwan. The second fort will be a red sea-urchin-like globe with pointed spikes, symbolizing authoritarian China and the missiles that it has directed against Taiwan.

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