A police official yesterday defended the decision to reject an application to hold a protest parade near the Presidential Office on May 20, after the decision was condemned by the applicant as a resumption of martial law.
National Police Agency Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-tung (林國棟) explained at a meeting held by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucus that the TSU’s proposed parade route overlapped with an area reserved for activities related to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) inauguration for his second term in office.
Lin said that the committee organizing the inauguration celebration filed for use of the area prior to the TSU and therefore had the right to it.
Prior to Lin’s explanation, TSU Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) complained about the government’s rejection of the application.
Hsu said that the president needed to hear people’s opinions on the day of his inauguration, especially on the administration’s decision to relax the ban on imports of US beef containing residues of leanness-enhancing drugs, and to raise fuel and electricity prices.
“May 20 is the best time for people to loudly voice their protests,” he said, saying the rejection of its application was a form of martial law.
The lawmaker also said that the move to close roads surrounding the Presidential Office for inauguration celebrations was “another way to deprive the people of their rights to organize assemblies and associations.”
Lin said the inauguration committee filed for the use of an area encompassing the 228 Peace Park, Jieshou Park and the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall before the TSU did, insisting that the TSU’s application was rejected in accordance with the law.
In the area blocked off for the inauguration celebration “normal traffic will not be restricted, but no assemblies or parades will be allowed,” Lin said.