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May 30, 2017

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Protesters ready to unleash their 'Fury' in Taipei

Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets in Taipei today to express their "fury" at the government, with opposition leaders promising more actions to come, including a recall motion against President Ma Ying-jeou.

The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) expects more than 100,000 people to take part in the "Fury March," more than double the previously set goal of 50,000, said DPP Secretary-General Lin You-chang.

Hung Chih-kun, a member of the DPP's Central Executive Committee, urged the party to conduct a recall campaign targeting both ruling Kuomintang lawmakers and President Ma.

Other opposition groups, including the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), have also vowed to recall Ma.

The DPP said its chairman, Su Tseng-chang, will spell out the party's next move at the end of today's demonstration, but stopped short of saying whether it would mount a recall campaign against the president.

DPP-conducted surveys show that some 60 percent of people interviewed support the "Fury March" and up to 65 percent agree with the key demands of the demonstration, the United Evening News cited party officials as claiming.

While the DPP was making final preparations for the march, Su stumped for a party-nominated candidate in a local by-election in Miaoli County, criticizing the Ma administration for its "incompetence" and "irresponsibility."

He accused Ma of working behind the scenes to ensure KMT lawmakers blocked an anti-media monopoly bill last week.

Media reform is one of three major themes of the "Fury March," the other two being demands for a Cabinet reshuffle as well as calls for a national affairs conference to allow Ma and opposition leaders to discuss the country's problems.

The president is unlikely to offer any immediate response to the opposition camp's demands. The president was scheduled to spend Sunday morning visiting late President Chiang Ching-kuo's mausoleum in Taoyuan County. Sunday is the 25th anniversary of Chiang's death.

The United Evening News cited presidential sources as saying that Ma has not scheduled any meetings with Premier Sean Chen or any Cabinet officials for the afternoon, which is when protesters are scheduled to be marching toward the presidential building.

Protesters will gather at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall on the east side of Taipei and then commence marching toward the presidential building on the west end of the city at 2 p.m., organizers said.

They will first march down Renai Road, turn north at Tunhua South, then head west down Zhongxiao East, turn south at Xinsheng South, then return to Renai and stop on Ketagalan Boulevard, which faces the presidential building.

An evening rally is to be held on Ketagalan, during which opposition heavyweights, including Su, former Vice President Annette Lu and former DPP Chairpersons Yu Shyi-ku, Frank Hsieh and Tsai Ing-wen will speak to demonstrators.

The DPP said 700 buses will carry demonstrators to Taipei from Central and Southern Taiwan.

Traffic control will be imposed along the protest route, police said.

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