Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of hiring part-time workers to obtain road permits around Chungshan Building on Yangmingshan to prevent protests against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) during the KMT congress.
The congress, which the party originally planned to hold at the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei, has been delayed since Sunday because of planned rallies and protests against Ma. The party has rescheduled it to next month and is considering several venues, including Chungshan Building and the Taichung Stadium in Wuci (梧棲).
The party yesterday remained tight-lipped about the time and location of its congress, saying it would make an announcement when the plan is finalized.
In the meantime, Hsu said the KMT has sent part-time workers to stand in line in front of Taipei City Hall to obtain road permits for Yangde Boulevard leading to Chungshan Building on Nov. 1, preventing civic groups from obtaining road permits and holding protests against Ma.
“The KMT is using old tactics to prevent rallies against Ma. All the roads in Taipei have been occupied by the KMT, and such tactics seriously undermine people’s right to assemble and hold rallies,” Hsu told a press conference.
Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮), spokesperson for the 929 Civil Movement Alliance, said Ma and the KMT are using money and manpower to block protests, but the group would hold a rally nonetheless.
“Civic groups don’t have enough budget and manpower to play road permit games with the KMT. However, we will follow Ma and the KMT wherever they go and make sure that they hear the public’s anger,” she said.
Taipei City’s New Construction Office division chief Wu Cheng-chun (吳鄭均) said city regulations require applicants to hand in their application forms and supporting documents to the office eight to 30 days prior to the date of the rally, with the city government granting the permits based on a first-come, first-served basis.
After obtaining permits from the city government, an approval from the Taipei City Police Department to hold rallies is still required, he said.
The KMT has also obtained road permits for in front of the KMT headquarters on Bade Road every Wednesday to prevent any protests at the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting, Hsu said, urging the city government to revise regulations to ban such tactics.
“The KMT obtains road permits so no activities or rallies can be held. The city government should prevent people from taking advantage of the regulations and make sure that the permits are used for rallies and activities,” she said.
Cheng said the office will seek to have a follow-up measure to prevent any abuse of the system for obtaining road permits.