As its nationwide tour begins, the campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday announced its latest gimmick -- calling on people to take part in a "soft strike" on Thursday, that is, take 15 minutes off to join the event and step up the pressure on the president.
The campaign originally planned to call the strike on Oct 9, and had urged people to take the day off, but decided to change the date after the Executive Yuan announced on Friday night that all government agencies would have a day off on Oct 9, giving employees a five-day holiday weekend over the mid-Autumn Festival and Double Ten National Day.
Revealing the details of its planned "soft strike," Chien Hsi-chieh, the campaign's deputy coordinator, said yesterday during a press conference that protesters in Taipei City and county should gather at the No. 1 exits of all MRT stations at 11:45am, while residents in other cities and counties would gather at local railway stations to shout protest slogans.
Drivers and motorists are also invited to join the demonstration by honking their horns four times, which is a representation of the slogan, "A-bian step down," he said.
Accusing the Executive Yuan of intentionally disrupting its original plan with its sudden announcement, campaign organizers said a similar demonstration will be held next Monday, Oct 9, calling on people to join the activity that will also take the form of 15-minute-long flash mobs in locations designated by the camp.
A flash mob is where a group of people assemble suddenly in a public place, do something unusual or notable, and then disperse.
"The Executive Yuan probably learned about our original plan and decided to spoil our strike by announcing that all government agencies will have the day off," he said, adding that the campaign would hold a similar activity on another day before next Monday.
While it will be unnecessary for workers to take next Monday off since it has been designated a holiday, the anti-Chen camp urged workers to "skip work" and attend the flash mobs on the day by gathering in front of local government buildings and chanting the slogan.
Arguing that the "soft strike" was not a "real strike," which by definition is called because of confrontations between employers and laborers, Chien said a "soft strike" was an "aggressive and effective" means to protest against "the government's poor policies or issues such as corruption."
In response to concerns that fewer people may attend the camp's planned Oct. 10 "siege" of the Presidential Office because of the five-day holiday, campaign spokesman Jerry Fan (范可欽) yesterday said the government's counterstrategy will instead bring more people.
"I expect the siege to attract more than 1.5 million protesters ... We call on everyone to celebrate the country's birthday wearing red to show the international media that Taiwan is a democratic country with a corrupt president," he said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday called on people not to politicize everything.
"There will be five holidays for everybody starting from the Mid-autumn Festival on Oct. 6. It is going to be fun. We will be happy. It is that simple. Do not think too much. It has nothing to do with politics," Su said in Kaohsiung when asked by the press for his response to the anti-Chen camp's accusation.