Taichung to hold anti-graft, pro-Chen rallies
The China Post staff Saturday, September 23, 2006, 12:00 am TWN
Anti-corruption protesters in Tainan City were forced to suspend their sit-in, but similar and much larger protests will continue in Taipei today while a new protest rally is slated for this evening in Taichung City in central Taiwan to demand for President Chen Shui-bian's resignation.
Just when the protesters planned to continue their anti-graft rally yesterday afternoon, they were met with a notice on the wall that the Tainan City Council rescinded an earlier agreement to allow the protesters to continue for two more days at the plaza outside the council.
It cited the riots and violence for the decision.
Twenty-six people, mostly supporters of President Chen, were arrested and at least ten were injured in clashes in the sit-in in Tainan in the past three days.
Leaders of the anti-graft rally said they have only been exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and assembly.
The revoking of the permit to use the place for the rally only showed that the government of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is trying every way to undermine the hard-won democracy in Taiwan.
They said it was the government's responsibility to protect legitimate rallies from the attacks of mobs instead of banning the sit-in being participated by protesters who would not resort to violence.
The organizers said they were saddened by the DPP's elaborate efforts to twist democracy in Taiwan.
But they vowed that they will stage new protests at a proper location in coming days to air their views.
Meanwhile, thousands of protesters are set to rally in Taichung City tonight to protest against Chen over corruption scandals implicating himself and his family.
People in central Taiwan want to express their opinion against graft in the government and demand Chen to step down to take responsibility for the scandals, said an organizer.
He said that the people want to make their voice known despite the DPP holding a simultaneous mass rally in the same city to demonstrate their support for Chen.
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu said that police in the largest city in central Taiwan will heighten security, separate the two opposing crowds and avoid possible clashes.
In Taipei, former DPP Chairman Shih Ming-teh will continue the sit-in at the square outside the Presidential Office.
Shih initiated the "anti-corruption and depose-Chen" campaign on Sept. 9 after more than one million people donated over NT$110 million to back his campaign to eliminate corruption in Taiwan politics and heal the rifts among different groups of immigrants settling down on the island.
People backing the anti-corruption movement have been gradually organizing their own protests outside Taipei for the same purpose.
An anti-graft rally is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at the Tsoying District in Kaohsiung City.
At the same time, the DPP is organizing pro-Chen rallies at places like Changhua, Pingtung, and Miaoli counties.
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