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KMT warns of new protests if recount demands are not met

Supporters of the “pan-blue” camp may return to the Presidential Office plaza on April 10 if President Chen Shui-bian fails to meet their demands for a comprehensive vote recount and an independent inquiry into the mysterious election eve shooting, a Kuomintang official said yesterday.

Ting Shou-chung, head of the KMT’s organization and development department, said the turnout of the 4-10 rally would exceed the 3-27 demonstration, during which some 460,000 people rallied in front of the Presidential Office to protest against what they called an “unfair election.”

“People are losing their patience with the government system in unveiling the truth of the shooting and probing into the disputed poll,” he said.

He added that “pan-blue” supporters, frustrated by Chen’s inaction to resolve the election disputes, might not be as calm as they were last Saturday.

“President Chen appears to be saying one thing but doing another. His Democratic Progressive Party is stalling the vote recount as well as smearing the objectivity of Dr. Henry Lee,” Ting said.

Lee, the famed forensic expert, was invited to join a special task force formed by the state public prosecutor general.

However, some DPP lawmakers charged that he supports the “pan-blue” camp and is pro-Beijing.

Ting blamed the DPP for boycotting the recount of ballots on a technicality — which side should cover the expense.

“It is only reasonable for the government, not the KMT, to pay for the recount with a razor-thin 0.22 percent winning margin,” he asserted.

According to Ting, the KMT has applied for rally permits at the Presidential Office plaza every weekend prior to May 20, the day the next president will be sworn in. And President Chen will have his swearing-in ceremony in the midst of throngs of barricades and wire fences, if he refuses to meet the demands of the people, he warned.

Recently, “pan-blue” supporters camped outside the Presidential Office in a week-long marathon demonstration to push for a speedy ballot recount and an independent investigation into the March 19 assassination attempt on Chen.

They were removed by police from outside the Presidential Office on the early morning of March 28, the deadline of that rally, but were allowed to continue protesting in the nearby C.K.S. Memorial Hall plaza.

The second protest is expected to end on April 3 after the C.K.S. Memorial Hall administration refused to extend the deadline citing noise pollution.

The Taipei Environmental Protection Bureau has issued 15 noise pollution tickets to the organizer of the protest, KMT lawmaker Huang Chao-shun, as of yesterday.

Also on April 10, the DPP and its ally Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) will hold two mass rallies to celebrate Chen’s re-election victory.

The DPP celebration will be held at Yuanshan Public Park No. 1 in Taipei.

The TSU party will take place in southern Kaohsiung with former President Lee Teng-hui attending.

Organizers said the celebrations will offset the “pan-blue” alliance’s 3-27 mass rally.

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