Sat, Sep 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Green groups blast Ma for giving protesters free rein

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pro-independence groups yesterday complained that Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) approval of a long-term demonstration against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had made life in Taipei chaotic.

Twelve pro-independence groups, led by the Taiwan Association of University Professors, issued a statement at a press conference yesterday, noting that Ma had approved two long protest activities in front of the Presidential Office within the past two years.

Ma's approval of the two major protest activities resulted in chaos, and these activities had a negative impact on Taipei citizens' daily lives, the statement said.

Members of the 12 groups requested that Ma take responsibility for the effects of the rallies and resign from his mayor's post.

Goa-Seng-Lang Association for Taiwan Independence chairman Hsu Teng-kun (許登崑) said that Ma should not approve events that he couldn't handle as mayor.

He said that when more police officers were needed during the protests to protect innocent people, Ma said that the Taipei City Police Department did not have enough manpower and requested help from the National Police Agency.

"This is irresponsible," Hsu said. "If he knew that there wasn't enough manpower, he should not have approved such activities in the first place ... What he did just proved that he is not capable of handling the mayor's job. We Taipei citizens have the right to ask him to quit."

"Ma's approval of former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) request for the 24-hour protest for 24 days in front of the Presidential Office was ridiculous. Ma's decision has made everybody's lives a lot more inconvenient," he said.

Lin Yi-fang (林一方), a member of the World United Formosans for Independence said that it was difficult to understand why Ma would approve such a protest, since hundreds of thousands of people's daily lives would be disturbed, clashes would take place, innocent people would get hurt and the tensions between pro-Chen and anti-Chen groups would worsen.

The groups also questioned Ma's honesty, and suggested that he might be corrupt by saying that Ma's savings accounts had increased from a total of NT$18.65 million (US$582,813) to NT$61.95 million within the past 10 years.

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