Thu, Nov 13, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Ma addresses students via radio

POINTS OF VIEWMa said he had proposed organizers of rallies be required only to notify the police, but that there are many varying views on protests and the law

By Flora Wang And Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday turned down a demand from student protesters that the country’s national security and police chiefs be replaced over what the protesters say was police mishandling of recent pro-independence demonstrations.

Ma said there was room for improvement in the performance of National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) and National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) in handling the demonstrations.

“But this was not to the extent that they should be removed from their posts,” Ma said during an interview with UFO Radio.

Groups of college students have been staging sit-ins since last Thursday to protest against the use of excessive force by police to disperse protesters during the visit of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) last week.

Students in other parts of the nation joined the protest by staging sit-ins at their respective schools.

A group of students launched a sit-in at the 228 Memorial Park in Chiayi yesterday, making them the sixth student group in the nation to join the campaign after the sit-ins in Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung began on Sunday and Monday.

The students made three demands: that Ma and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) apologize, that Wang and Tsai step down for what they called the use of “excessive force” by police last week, and that the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) be amended.

Ma dodged the demand that he and Liu apologize and asked the students to look at “the whole picture” because Chen’s visit was successful, as four agreements were signed and served the public’s interests.

Ma said that Minister of the Interior Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) had on many occasions apologized over the law-enforcement officers’ conduct and promised to review the methods adopted by the police in performing their duties.

On the students’ proposal to change the Assembly and Parade Law, which requires rally organizers to apply for permits from the police, Ma said the idea was consistent with his own proposal that the organizers of such gatherings should be required only to notify police in advance.

However, Ma said the students must recognize the fact that their opinion represents only one of many different views in Taiwan.

The current system is actually very loose, because almost all applications for public rallies are approved, once there is no specific reason to reject them, Ma said.

Meanwhile, the students yesterday urged both the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to propose a specific timetable for when the Assembly and Parade Law would be amended.

In a press release on their official Web blog (action1106.blogspot.com), the students welcomed the legislature’s move to put several proposed amendments to the law to committee review. But the students urged both parties to clearly promise to lift the requirements on gaining approval from law enforcement authorities before holding a rally and eliminate limits on rallies in certain areas and authorization for the police to dismiss a parade.

Article 6 of the law bans any rallies near the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, the Examination Yuan, the Judicial Yuan, all courts and residences of the president and vice president. Rallies are also forbidden at international airports, sea ports, important military zones, foreign consulates as well as the offices of any international organization in Taiwan.

This story has been viewed 3823 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top