Tue, Aug 29, 2006 - Page 3 News List

`Anti-Chen' movement sets date, shifts strategy

NAME CHANGE Shih Ming-teh will begin a sit-in on Sept. 9, and has changed the title of his effort from the `anti-Chen' campaign to the `anti-corruption' campaign

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh yesterday gestures while announcing on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei that he would begin a sit-in protest against President Chen Shui-bian on Sept. 9.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The organizer of a movement to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday finalized a date for protests to begin, vowing that the demonstrations would not end until Chen stepped down.

A sit-in protest against Chen will start on Sept. 9, and will not end until the president is removed from power, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) said yesterday.

Shih made the announcement in a press conference held on Ketagelan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, where he plans to stage a "round-the-clock sit-in," with the goal of opposing what he called a "corrupt regime" and deposing Chen.

"I will not be knocked down by a string of recent attacks targeted at me. It is useless to smear, criticize, abuse or threaten me," Shih said, referring to a flurry of accusations and criticisms made by DPP lawmakers and his two ex-wives regarding his character.

Shih said that when the sit-in started, it would be a defining moment in the nation's history to show "people power" to a "flawed" national leader.

Citing the Chinese-language idiom that "The water that bears the boat is the same that swallows it," Shih said that only people power could create a "real democracy."

The sit-in protest was initially called the "anti-Chen" campaign, but yesterday the Shih camp changed the name to the "anti-corruption" campaign.

Although Chen's wife and son-and-law have been implicated in alleged corruption, no allegations have been leveled at Chen at present.

Jerry Fan (范可欽), a spokesman for Shih's campaign, said that the name change was to more clearly highlight its "anti-corruption" ideals.

Fan said the campaign would not welcome people with specific political goals to participate, but it would welcome anyone whose intention was to make Taiwan a better country.

Meanwhile, the staff at Shih's headquarters, located near the Legislative Yuan, reported two suspicious bags to the police as possible bombs.

Police specializing in bomb disposal were sent to the site and after investigating the bags said that there were no explosives in either one.

Police reviewed surveillance tapes near the headquarters afterward the incident, and identified the man who had left the bags.

After police visited the man's residence, they learned that he had already been sent to the hospital after suffering an apparent mental breakdown.

Additional reporting by Flora Wang

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