Groups plan Double Ten rallies relay

UNITED FRONT::Several civic groups are to take turns protesting government policies on issues from nuclear power to the service trade pact and to demand Ma step down

By Lee Yu-hsin  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Oct 07, 2013 - Page 3

Civic groups are planning to take to the streets in Taipei to express their anger and disappointment with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration on Double Ten National Day on Thursday.

The groups set to protest include the Anti-Nuclear Action Alliance and activist group Citizen 1985, which will take turns staging demonstrations around the Legislative Yuan to demand that Ma — who registered a historically low approval rating of 9.2 percent in a recent public opinion poll — step down from post.

According to the Anti-Nuclear Action Alliance, two events will be also held to promote anti-nuclear power ideals. The first is to center on “getting rid of the pro-nuclear president” and will take place at the legislature’s front gate starting at 9:19am.

The other event will be an anti-nuclear parade that will depart at 10am from the yet-to-be finished Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮).

Alliance convener Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎), a former Taiwan Environmental Protection Union chairman, said that since polls have shown that 70 percent of the public are against nuclear power, Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should not go against the public’s will.

Citizen 1985 will hold a rally at 10:10am, during which they will raise a “citizens’ flag,” symbolizing the people’s will to protect the Constitution and their demand for power to be returned to the people.

The group urges participants to wear white while attending the flag-raising ceremony.

Citizen 1985 said it is advocating to lower several legal thresholds: including the voter threshold for passing referendums, for recalling a president and for subsiding political parties and legislators-at-large, as well as to demand a re-negotiation of the service trade agreement with China.

The group’s spokesperson said it will also arrange for specialists to give lectures about the Constitution during the rally and invite participants to write down how they hope the nation will be changed for better in the future.

Another group, the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign, is also planning a demonstration, titled “Nailing the coffin shut, ” outside the Legislative Yuan’s front gate at 11:19am.

“Ma, with such low levels of public approval, is already despised by the people and should be responsible enough to step down from office on his own,” 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign convener Peter Wang (王獻極) said.

Meanwhile, People First Party Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) yesterday asked sarcastically whether the Presidential Office has included NT$13.84 million (US$460,000) for renovating the office’s inner walls and windows in its draft budget proposal for next year because it wants to make them thick enough to block out the protesters’ voices.