Thu, Sep 14, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Pro-Chen rally is doomed: Shih

DISMISSIVE Shih Ming-teh said that the DPP's planned mobilization of `soulless stage props' was a `tactical' maneuver that was doomed to failure

By Mo Yan-chih and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Taipei Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou gives the thumbs-down sign as he leads protesters in chanting ``A-Bian step down''on Ketagalan Boulevard early yesterday morning.

PHOTO: SUNG CHIH-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Angered by the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) support for a rally on Saturday designed to counter his own anti-President-Chen-Shui-bian (陳水扁) protests, Shih Ming-teh (施明德) yesterday denounced what he called a "tactical" maneuver by the DPP, saying the strategy was doomed to failure.

"People power, which follows no tactics, is strongest. The DPP's tactics, which are intended to counter people power, are doomed to failure," Shih said during a press conference on Ketagalan Boulevard.

DPP Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) told reporters after the DPP's Central Standing Committee meeting yesterday that the party would issue a mobilization order asking DPP legislators, local chapters and DPP county commissioners and city mayors to enlist people to attend Saturday's rally, which was initiated by the Taiwan Society, a pro-independence group.

As organizers hoped that some 100,000 people would participate in the event, Lin said that the DPP aimed to contribute between 20,000 and 30,000 people.

Shih, however, dismissed the mobilization as nothing but a bunch of "soulless stage props" manipulated by political parties, adding that they bore no comparison with the anti-Chen protesters, who attended the sit-in of their own free will.

"Let the DPP do it! When it mobilizes thousands of buses filled with soulless puppets, it is doing nothing but helping people see the truth more clearly," he said.

Pledging that his movement would continue to be a peaceful one, Shih once again denied that protest organizers were planning a nationwide strike. He also urged people to participate in the symbolic "siege" of the Presidential Office and the president's official Yushan Residence tomorrow night.

"The horn of history has sounded. We are all warriors. We will continue the battle until A-bian steps down," he said.

A-bian is the president's nickname.

Dismissing comments attributed to Wei Chien-fung (魏千鋒), a lawyer aligned with the anti-Chen movement, that DPP heavyweights had advised campaign organizers, Shih said that only God had guided him.

Chien Hsi-chie, deputy head of Shih's campaign, said that if Chen remained unmoved after tomorrow's "siege," 5,000 protesters would be sent to peacefully lay siege to the Presidential Office.

Meanwhile, as the sit-in campaign entered its fifth day, Jerry Fan (范可欽), a spokesman for the movement, called for protesters to tie red ribbons around the trees near Ketagalan Boulevard as well as those in front of their houses.

The idea, which was inspired by the song Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree, is the latest gimmick suggested by Fan, who previously suggested that protesters draw inspiration from Peru's famous Nazca Lines and dress in red.

"We want to see all the trees around the country tied with red ribbons," Fan said.

Although the majority of anti-Chen protesters will move to the Taipei Railway Station on Saturday, Fan called on the Taiwan Society to cancel its rally so that about 200,000 or 300,000 anti-Chen protesters could remain in the area of Ketagalan Boulevard during the weekend.

Earlier yesterday morning, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) showed up briefly at the sit-in area and helped distribute 1,200 loaves of bread and bottles of soy milk to protesters.

Wearing a red shirt, Ma led the crowd in shouting "A-bian Step Down!" in Mandarin, Taiwanese and Hakka. Ma said he had taken the opportunity to express the KMT's support for the protesters.

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