Sat, Sep 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Students `kneel in' to support sit-in

KNEES DOWNAbout 100 students took part in a 15-hour protest against the president, but several of them collapsed from the strain before the finish

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

A group of students participating in the demonstration against President Chen Shui-bian yesterday kneel in a 321-minute long prayer to mark the seventh anniversary of the 921 Earthquake on Sept. 21, 1999.

PHOTO: SUNG CHIH-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Scores of students completed a marathon "kneel to pray for the nation" activity in front of the Presidential Office yesterday to lend support to the ongoing sit-in campaign to pressure President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to step down over corruption allegations.

Around 100 students, who knelt around an image of Taiwan shaped out of candles, started the 921-minute "kneel-in" at 9:21pm on Thursday night and ended at 12:56pm yesterday.

The students said they crossed their fingers and prayed for the nation and to try to "awaken" the embattled president in the hope that he would answer a spate of corruption and embezzlement allegations against himself, members of his family and senior aides within the 921 minutes.

Several students were unable to sustain the kneeling position during the long "kneel-in" and started to collapse around 8am.

Shih Ming-teh (施明德), former chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party and the leader of the "Million Voices Against Corruption" campaign, brought the students some wild ginger flowers at around 9:50am to cheer them up.

He said the fragrant flower is indigenous to Taiwan and represents freshness and vibrancy.

Shih, who was imprisoned for 25 years as a prisoner of conscience during the authoritarian era under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration, said that collapsing was part of developing "tenacity."

He added that people should always stand up after they take a fall.

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