Tue, Aug 22, 2006 - Page 3 News List

NPA powerless over Shih permit

NOT SPELLED OUT While a 10pm deadline for ending political rallies has been the convention, the Assembly and Parade Law does not actually set a time limit

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Old police barricades from Kaohsiung County transported on a truck are delivered to Taipei yesterday. They will be used, if necessary, in place of the new razor-barbed wire barricades at the upcoming anti-President Chen Shui-bian protest.

PHOTO: HUNG CHEN-HUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The central government does not have the authority to ask the Taipei City Government to revoke the permission it gave for a 15-day anti-Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) sit-in, even though it considers such a round-the-clock protest inappropriate.

"The protest has been approved by the Taipei City Government, so it's legal. But we think the protest will cause social unrest and increase the burden on police," National Policy Agency (NPA) Chief Secretary Tsai Chun-chang (蔡俊章) said.

Tsai made the remarks at a press conference held by Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator David Huang (黃適卓) yesterday. Huang called on the central government to urge Taipei officials to rescind the permit.

The city government has given the okay for a campaign led by former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) to stage a protest on Ketagalan Boulevard from tomorrow through Sept. 7.

Huang said that the 15-day sit-in would disrupt the daily routines of more than 100,000 students who attend schools in the area and the estimated 800,000 people who pass through the area daily.

"We respect that it is the people's basic right to stage a demonstration, but the impact of the demonstration should also be taken into account," Huang said.

The city government has said it approved the round-the-clock rally because the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) does not require that protests be finished by 10pm.

That 10pm deadline for protests, however, has been regarded as an unwritten convention for years.

Tsai said that the decision to grant permission for the protest was made according to the law.

"The Taipei City Government has the authority to review the rally application. The central government does not have the right to change the city's decision," Tsai said, adding that the NPA had instructed local governments not to give permission for such events in the future.

Huang said the government should not give certain people special treatment when reviewing applications to hold rallies.

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