HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mass anti-Chen rally planned on Taiwan's National Day

TAIPEI (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of protesters are expected to mass in the Taiwan's capital on Tuesday for a rally against embattled President Chen Shui-bian that will clash with National Day celebrations.

Organizers said they expected as many as two million people to protest in the square outside the Presidential Office, where National Day celebrations have also been scheduled.

"As Chen is the head of the state, he will have to show up during the celebrations," said campaign spokesman Emile Sheng.

"And certainly there would not be a better chance than this for the people to voice their anger towards Chen Shui-bian," Sheng told AFP.

Protesters were being asked to wear red in a show of anger over the string of high-profile corruption scandals implicating Chen and his family. More than 300,000 people rallied September 15 in the square, the climax so far of the ongoing campaign to oust Chen.

Campaign organizers said they had advised protesters against disrupting the celebrations which include an honour guard parade and are expected to draw large crowds.

"Our target is Chen Shui-bian rather than the National Day celebrations," Sheng said.

Some 5,000 police are expected to patrol the square with campaign organisers asked to carry radios to ensure communication and order is maintained during the protest which will be restricted to a designated area.

Local media said some college students had rejected their school orders to attend the celebrations while others said they would instead join the protest.

Pro-democracy veteran Shih Ming-teh kicked off an island-wide protest tour late last month to solicit more support for his campaign. The tour ended late Saturday in central Taichung city.

Pressure has mounted on the president to resign after he was questioned over alleged misuse of funds intended for state affairs. He has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to stay on until his second and final term ends in May 2008.

On Friday, Taiwan's parliament will vote on a second recall motion launched against Chen by the opposition People First Party (PFP).

Observers said the motion, which requires the backing of 148 lawmakers, is unlikely to pass as the PFP and its Kuomintang ally hold only 112 seats.

Against this backdrop, activists announced Sunday they were widening their campaign to target lawmakers from Chen's Democratic Progressive Party.

"The DPP legislators must choose between their own political future and standing together with Chen Shui-bian," Sheng said.

The activists will appeal to the Taiwanese people to launch the recall motions against the DPP lawmakers at the National Day rally.

In Taiwan, a constituency can launch a recall motion if more than 13 percent of eligible voters call for it. A lawmaker must then stand aside if a majority of the eligible voters vote in favour of the motion.

In June Chen survived an unprecedented parliamentary vote to oust him two years before his second and final term ends. If passed, it would have triggered a national referendum on Chen's future.

Prosecutors on Monday last week cleared Chen's wife Wu Shu-chen of receiving department store vouchers in exchange for lobbying favors while his son-in-law Chao Chien-ming was indicted on insider trading charge.

In what the opposition said was an attempt to divert public attention away from him, Chen last month raised the issue of a new constitution, a move likely to irk China which regards the island as its territory.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org