Sat, Sep 02, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Dry run held for anti-Chen sit-in

PRE-PROTEST Opponents of the president flexed their protest muscles yesterday in preparation for the marathon sit-in to oust the president that starts next Saturday

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A group of reporters yesterday cover their ears while organizers of the Million People Anti-Corruption Movement led by former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh introduce music that will be played through 32 huge speakers during the upcoming sit-in protest.


Protesters held a warm-up yesterday for their sit-in protest aimed at ousting President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), with Shih Ming-teh (施明德), a former Democratic Progressive Party chairman and leader of the protest shouting "A-bian, step down" along with hundreds of people.

The warm-up protests will be held in front of the Presidential Office every evening on Ketagalan Boulevard until next Friday, the day before the round-the-clock sit-in officially begins.

"There are 230 seats open to supporters every night from 6pm to 10pm, with each stage lasting one hour," said Wang Lie-ping (王麗萍), a campaign spokeswoman.

Wang said that the 230 seats were all occupied in yesterday's trial run, and said that the anti-Chen office was confident that the 2,300 seats, symbolizing the 23 million people of Taiwan, would also be filled when the sit-in officially starts.

The sit-in, called the "Million People Anti-Corruption Movement," was organized by Shih, who participated in the trial protest yesterday for ten minutes.

Earlier yesterday, Shih held a press conference to respond to a report in yesterday's Chinese-language daily China Times, which said that Shih had undergone surgery to remove hepatic tumors about a month ago.

Shih confirmed the report about his illness, and said that he has been recovering very well since the operation.

"I think that my physical condition had nothing to do with the strength of the anti-Chen campaign, because I am just a follower of more than one million people who have voiced their opinion and demanded Chen's resignation," Shih said.

Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday repeated that the authority to keep public order during the protest belongs to city's police department.

Citing articles 25 and 26 of the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法), Ma said the police department is responsible for keeping a balance between protecting the rights of the protesters and maintaining public order, controlling traffic and protecting the environment.

"It is the authority of the police, not me, to take proper measures according to the situation. The city government will provide related information to the police and they will make a final decision," Ma said yesterday while attending a municipal event.

The city's Department of Cultural Affairs received an application from the Shih camp to decorate the Jing Fu Men (景福門), a historical monument.

The plan includes wrapping four pieces of red cloth around the gate. Each cloth will carry one of four Chinese characters: Propriety (li,), Righteousness (yi,,), Honesty (lian,) and Shame (chi,) respectively.

The culture department said it will inspect the gate and hold a review meeting on Monday to assess the proposal.

Late last night, Shih's headquarters canceled its fourth trial sit-in. The first trials continued as planned.

Additional reporting by Flora Wang

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