Pro-independence group concludes 36-day march

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - Page 3

Members of a pro-independence group yesterday completed a 36-day walk around the country as they called on the authorities to end what they termed “autocratic control of the judiciary” and for the release of jailed former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

The walk, initiated by the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, arrived at Banciao Railway Station in New Taipei City (新北市) yesterday morning. They braved the cold and rain, and at noon reached Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei, where an overnight protest was scheduled.

Dozens of people joined the walk, which commenced at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taipei on Nov. 3.

The group walked through Keelung, Yilan, Hualien, Taitung and Pingtung counties, as well as the cities and counties on the west coast before arriving back in Taipei.

The activists clashed with police earlier yesterday when the alliance’s convener, Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴), and a few others went to the Ketagalan Boulevard to appraise their scheduled protest location.

Tsay said the group should be granted the whole of Ketagalan Boulevard for the protest, but police officers insisted lanes be left open for traffic and forcefully removed Tsay and the others.

During the clash, Tsay fell to the ground and was afterwards sent to hospital for treatment.

According to former Northern Taiwan Society director Janice Chen (陳昭姿), who visited Tsay in hospital, Tsay will stay hospitalized for further observation as he may have suffered a concussion.

Having served four years of a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of corruption during his term in office, Chen, who is serving an 18-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Sept. 21.

He was later diagnosed with severe depression, with symptoms of anxiety and somatization disorder. He has been on escorted visits to the hospital since then.