Anti-corruption and depose-Chen rally to start on 2006.9.9
More than 100,000 protesters, most wearing red clothes, shouted slogans “Ah-Bian, step down” and gave the thumbs-down sign…
Rally to oust Chen kicks off
The China Post (2006/9/10)
Over 100,000 local people rallied on the broad Kaitakelan Boulevard to demand the resignation of President Chen Shui-bian over a series of alleged corruption scandals involving his family members and close aides.
The protesters, most wearing red to express their anger, shouted slogans and gave the thumbs-down sign as they marched through the downtown Taipei, yelling the embattled president’s nickname as they chanted: “Ah-Bian, step down.”
The protest was organized by Shih Ming-teh, former chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party who has collected more than 1 million signatures in a bid to depose Chen and has vowed a round-the-clock sit-in outside the Presidential Office Building until Chen resigns.
When kicking off the sit-in campaign yesterday afternoon, Shih said that Taiwan would be “paralyzed” if Chen served out his term, which ends on May 20, 2008.
“The people of Taiwan have the power to ask Chen to step down,” he said. “We will not stop this protest until he does.”
“On Sept. 9, we stand here, we sit here, to call on Ah-bian to step down,” Shih told the protesters.
“Brothers and sisters, today is a moment in history. The people of Taiwan are watching, the world is watching. They are looking to see if we have the resolve to make Ah-bian step down,” Shih continued.
As rain began to fall, Shih sat down on the boulevard to symbolize his steadfastness and the crowd followed suit.
Quite a few political figures also joined the sit-in rally, including Chairman James Soong of the People First Party (PFP) and lawmakers of both the opposition Kuomintang and PFP.
KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou also arrived at the protest site last night and met with Shih to express his support for the campaign.
Ma also expressed his support for the rally in a half-page newspaper advertisement yesterday, and urged ruling DPP lawmakers to spearhead a second parliamentary vote to oust Chen.
Ma said he supports Vice President Annette Lu to succeed Chen as provided in the constitution.
Chen survived an opposition attempt to oust him through a parliamentary vote, which failed to receive the backing of two-thirds of all lawmakers. If passed, it would have triggered a national referendum on Chen’s future.
Chen came to power in 2000 after the DPP won the presidential election, ending the five-decade rule of Taiwan by the KMT. He was re-elected for a second four-year term in 2004.
But public discontent has been building up due to the perceived inefficiency of Chen’s administration, strained ties with China and corruption scandals surrounding his family members and aides.
In July, his son-in-law Chao Chien-ming was indicted for alleged insider trading involving a local development firm, a charge he denies.
Chen’s wife, Wu Shu-chen, was questioned by prosecutors over allegations that she accepted gifts for helping the management of Pacific Sogo Department Stores gain control of the company.
On Thursday, the Presidential Office acknowledged that prosecutors questioned Chen last month about the use of false invoices to account for part of a secret fund used to sustain Taiwanese diplomatic activities.