The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is planning a massive protest next month against what it says are President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) poor performance and his failure to listen to the public.
The DPP’s Central Standing Committee unanimously approved a resolution to authorize the establishment of a “520 task force” to plan for a massive rally around May 20, when Ma will be inaugurated for his second term, DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said yesterday.
The committee decided that a protest was necessary because “Taiwanese are having a difficult time with their lives and cannot stand the Ma administration’s incompetence, injustice and its failure to listen to the voice of the people,” Lin said.
“That is why we are ready to take to the streets to voice our displeasure and protest, and to make the public’s anger visible to the president,” he added.
The task force, convened by DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安), will study the appropriate date and location of the protest, given that the Taipei City Government has designated a large area around the Presidential Office as a restricted zone on May 20.
With the announcement, the DPP appears to have changed its tack, with interim DPP Chairperson Chen Chu (陳菊) earlier saying that the DPP, as a rational political party, would try to monitor the government in the legislature first and consider demonstrating as a last resort.
Through another unanimous resolution, the party reiterated its call for judicial and medical rights for ailing former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, and insisted that the former president should be granted a release for medical treatment, Lin said.
According to the Constitution, only the president has the power to grant a presidential pardon, he said.
Representatives of various civic groups met Chen before the committee meeting, demanding the DPP restore the former president’s reputation and party membership, and support the petition for a presidential pardon.
The representatives also called on the DPP to lift a ban on its party members and legislators from signing an amnesty petition for Chen.
The DPP did not respond to the appeal.
The committee gave the DPP legislative caucus two more tasks — to promote legislation to designate April 7 as Freedom of Speech Day in honor of late democracy advocate Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) and to monitor the operations of state-run companies following controversial fuel and electricity price rises, Lin said.