The Taipei District Court yesterday found former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) and 15 others not guilty of violating the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) for unregistered protests during the 2006 Double Ten National Day.
Shih launched a protest movement in August 2006 aimed at forcing then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to resign.
On Double Ten National Day, Oct. 10, Shih led thousands of red-clad protesters at a rally outside Taipei Railway Station in an attempt to “besiege” the Presidential Office.
Prosecutors said that the anti-Chen campaign organizers had not applied for a permit from the Taipei City Police Department to hold a parade or rally, as required by the Assembly and Parade Act.
The Taipei District Court yesterday said in a ruling that although the police had put up warning signs and broadcast requests to the organizers for the crowd to disperse, it was unlikely that so many thousands of protesters could respond to the requests, and therefore under the “principle of proportionality” it could not prove that the organizers violated the Assembly and Parade Act.
The ruling also said that evidence failed to prove that the 16 defendants were in charge of the massive protest.
It said that because the government and the legislature had proposed amendments to the Assembly and Parade Act that would abolish the requirement that protest organizers apply for permits from the police, the act remained in question.
Prosecutors indicted Shih in 2006 along with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春), People First Party Legislator Shen Chih-hwei (沈智慧), former KMT legislator and Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs Director Lee Yong-ping (李永萍), Taipei City Research & Development Evaluation Commission Chairman Emile Sheng (盛治仁) and New Party Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新).
Nine others were named in the indictment: Chien Hsi-chieh, Liu Kun-li (劉坤鱧), Chang Fu-chung (張富忠), Jerry Fan (范可欽), Wang Li-ping (王麗萍), KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾), former New Party legislator Cheng Lung-shui (鄭龍水), former Chinese Unity Promotion Party chairman Lin Cheng-chieh (林正杰), Chinese Culture University professor Yao Li-ming (姚立明) and lawyer John Wei (魏千峰).
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday the office would decide whether or not to appeal the case to the Taiwan High Court after reading the ruling.