Sun, Sep 24, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Lin Si-yao hopes second `siege' will be peaceful

WORRIES The minister without portfolio, while acknowledging the right to protest, expressed concerns over further large-scale demonstrations

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

With the campaign to oust the president set to stage its second "siege" in Taipei next Saturday, an official expressed the hope yesterday that the event will proceed in a peaceful manner.

Minister Without Portfolio Lin Si-yao (林錫耀) said that the government respected all lawful gatherings.

However, he said that although the Constitution protected the right to assemble, any large-scale activities at this sensitive point in time could have a huge social cost.

A coordinator of the campaign against corruption earlier the same day expressed the hope that the upcoming "930 March Against Corruption" will draw a greater number of people than had participated in the Sept. 15 march.

According to police statistics, more than 350,000 people joined the "519 city-besieging march," but the campaign organizer has claimed more than 700,000 people attended the march to press President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to step down.

The campaign was initiated last month by the veteran democracy campaigner Shih Ming-teh (施明德), who served as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party between 1994 and 1996.

It has been pressing for Chen's resignation over allegations of corruption against the president, his family members and close aides.

both camps at fault

A telephone survey conducted by CtiTV and the China Times among more than 1,000 voters around Taiwan on Thursday found that 35 percent of respondents believe that both the anti and pro-Chen camps should bear responsibility for the recent violent confrontations at a number of anti-Chen public rallies.

Asked about the survey, Lin said none of the violent confrontations could be justified, adding that he believes that an increasing number of people are starting to realize that putting a hold on street protests at this sensitive time would benefit the nation's general development.

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