President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that he was in favor of amending the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法), but added that it was up to the legislature to decide whether to do so.
“I support amending the law so that [people] only need to register with relevant authorities before conducting street gatherings and protests, “ Ma said. “The purpose of this is so that the police can prepare to ensure safety.”
Ma said he had been backing the legal revisions since he was Taipei mayor and hadn’t changed his mind since taking office, adding that he was willing to listen to other voices.
Ma made the remarks while addressing the annual meeting of the Law Society of the Republic of China at the Judicial Yuan yesterday morning.
The comments came as the Wild Strawberry Movement student sit-ins entered their 11th day.
Groups of students have been staging the sit-in nationwide to protest against what they have called the use of excessive force by police to disperse demonstrators who protested against a recent visit by a Chinese envoy.
The students have made three demands: that Ma and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) apologize over the police actions; that National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) step down; and that the Assembly and Parade Law be amended.
The students and other critics of the government have pressed Ma to fulfill a promise he made during his presidential election campaign to revise the controversial statute, a commitment Ma said remained unchanged.
Ma has dodged the demand that he and Liu apologize. He has also turned down the demand that Wang and Tsai be replaced, although he said there was room for improvement in their performance in handling the demonstrations.
While the current law requires rally organizers to apply for permits from the police, the students demanded that organizers of such gatherings should only be required to notify police in advance.
Ma yesterday said he was willing to listen to the students’ opinions, but that they must recognize the fact that their opinion represented only one of many different views in Taiwan. He also said that the current system was actually very loose because almost all applications for public rallies were approved if there was no specific reason to reject them.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung