Fri, Aug 25, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Presidential Office denies planning to roll out tanks

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Officials yesterday dismissed a cable TV news report that it was prepared to use tanks to deter demonstrators from venturing too close to the Presidential Office building.

The officials said the TVBS report that tanks would be brought in if protesters crossed the red lines on Chongqing S Road leading to the Presidential Office was false.

Describing the report as "unbelievably untrue," the officials said that Taiwan was a country which upholds the rule of law and that the Presidential Office fully respects the people's right to assemble.

The officials, however, added that the government would not tolerate any actions aimed at inciting violence.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense issued a press release late on Wednesday night reaffirming the military's support for the head of state. The statement came in the wake of a report by CTI-TV earlier the same day that former minister of national defense Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) had donated NT$100 to former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) in support of his campaign to recall the president.

"The military is loyal to the country, the government and the people as well as the leader who was chosen through a democratic process," the press release read.

Ministry Spokesman Rear Admiral Wu Chi-fang (吳季方) said that it was not possible for the military to support a specific political party.

"We [the military] will always support the president, regardless of which party he or she is from," Wu said.

The ministry said it could not confirm whether or not Tang had made a donation to Shih, adding that only Tang himself could comment on the matter.

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