The Wild Strawberry Student Movement is planning to hold a rally in front of the Presidential Office, without seeking a permit, to voice dissatisfaction with the government’s lukewarm attitude toward amending the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法), representatives of the movement said yesterday.
Hsu Jen-shou (?? told a press conference at Liberty Square in front of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall that protesters staging silent sit-ins around the country would gather at the square for the rally on Sunday.
An estimated 1,000 people will begin their march at 1pm to the Executive Yuan, the National Police Agency (NPA) and the Legislative Yuan, before heading to the Presidential Office, he said. The rally is scheduled to end at 4pm.
The students will not seek police approval as required by the assembly law but will only “report” their plans to law enforcement authorities, in line with the amendments advocated by the movement.
Around 100 academics who have expressed support for the students will also attend, he said.
The students have staged nationwide sit-ins since Nov. 6 in protest at use of “excessive” force by police against demonstrators during Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait chairman Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) visit.
The students are demanding that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) apologize and that NPA Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) resign from their posts. The students have also called for immediate amendments to the assembly law to scrap the requirement that demonstrators secure a permit from police.
“Three weeks have passed [since we began demonstrating]. Our government has not shown any remorse but endorsed the use of excessive force by police,” Wild Strawberries spokesman Lo Shih-hsiang (羅士翔) said. “We are going to take this to the streets, to the Executive Yuan, the Legislative Yuan and the Presidential Office. We will step up together and show the government we will never stop defending human rights.”
Highlights of the rally on Ketagalan Boulevard will include a mock funeral procession to mourn the demise of human rights, Hsu said.
Students from Kaohsiung will carry a 2m bamboo puppet of Ma dressed in a military uniform to symbolize his “returning Taiwan to authoritarian rule,” said Yao Liang-yi (姚量議), a student from Kaohsiung.
Hsu said the public was welcome to join the rally, but that the movement would not tolerate violence or interference by any political parties.
“The tone of the movement has been non-violent and peaceful,” Hsu said, adding that students will ask that people remove any political symbols before joining the rally.