Wed, Sep 06, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Clear Ketagalan ahead of Double Ten, Wang urges

HOLIDAY PREPARATIONS Ma Ying-jeou said Taipei officials would consider the request. He also denied reports the KMT would be a `loyal opposition party'

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

In order to prepare for National Double Ten Day celebrations, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday urged the Taipei City Government to ensure Ketagalan Boulevard is clear between Sept. 26 and Oct. 12.

The boulevard is expected to be occupied with protesters taking part in an anti-President-Chen-Shui-bian (陳水扁) sit-in that begins on Saturday.

"It has nothing to do with blue or green [camps]. Because we need to start working on the celebration ceremony, construction would be delayed if the protesters are still there," said Wang, who is head of the ceremony preparation team.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) responded to Wang's complaint yesterday by saying that the city's police and public works' departments would consider the legislative speaker's proposal.

Lee Shu-chuan (李四川), director of the Bureau of Public Works' new construction department, said the department would not give approval to any parade application between Sept. 28 and Oct. 12.

Lee said the department had granted the Shih camp's permission to use the boulevard until Sept. 27, while the police gave it parade permission until Sept. 20.

However, Lin said officials agreed yesterday to expand the demonstration area from the Ketagalan Boulevard to Renai Road and Xinyi Road on Saturday and Sunday, as the protest organizers plan to form a compass image -- inspired by the Nazca Lines in Peru -- in the area.

Lee said the organizers applied for the extension yesterday and it was granted, but only for the weekend.

"We also consulted with the police and traffic departments, and they will map out traffic rules during the weekend," he said.

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), who is spearheading the protest, said yesterday that Oct. 10 was too far off to worry about now, although he suspected the president would still be in office by that time.

"We don't have to be so nervous about the distant future," he said.

Shih noted that as others have obtained permission to use Ketagalan Boulevard on Sept. 16, he may lead his supporters on a "candlelight march through Taipei" the night of Sept. 15. He refused to say, however, where the candlelight march would go.

Meanwhile, Ma dismissed media allegations that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) would be a "loyal opposition party" from now on and that he would not try to topple the Cabinet. The KMT chairman said he never made such remarks.

According to a China Times story yesterday, Ma was planning to announce on Saturday that the KMT would be a "loyal opposition party" until 2008 by refraining from trying to topple the Cabinet or seek to form a new Cabinet.

Ma would also not try to oust Chen or the Cabinet through street demonstrations because such protests are "outside of governmental system," the paper said.

"The KMT has never ruled out the possibility of toppling the Cabinet ? I don't know where such information comes from," Ma said.

He said the China Times had not sought confirmation of its story from him.

As the right to assembly and parade is protected by law, Ma said street demonstrations could not be seen an "outside the government" measures.

He also said he would not exclude any possibility in ousting the president.

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