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Mass rallies planned to oust Chen

Mass rallies planned to oust Chen

Pro-democracy leaders in Taiwan yesterday announced plans for two fresh protests to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), a spokesman said, citing corruption allegations.
"We absolutely will not be absent on September 9 and October 10 ... we will be there to join celebrations of the last national day in Chen's tenure," said Jerry Fan, a spokesman for democracy campaigner Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) A-bian (Chen's nickname) Out movement.
Similar moves by the group, which was launched on September 9 last year, failed to gain traction but the campaigners have vowed to continue their actions.
"Chen said last year he would not hold the (national day) celebration any more but now an even bigger celebration rally is planned," Fan said, vowing to stage such an event.
Series of blows
The embattled president suffered a blow in June when the High Court increased his son-in-law Chao Chien-ming's (趙建銘) sentence to seven years imprisonment for insider trading.
Chen's wife Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) is on trial on corruption and forgery charges for allegedly embezzling NT$14.8 million (US$448,500) from state funds for personal use.
Chen was also accused of corruption in the case but escaped immediate prosecution due to presidential immunity. His second and final term ends in May 2008.
Shih, under treatment of liver cancer, stressed his determination to fight against corruption but did not specify any details.
Shih and Fan said early disclosure of their plans would lead to sabotage from securities authorities who, they said, were already bugging their phones.
"Although we failed to force A-bian out last year, our movement demonstrated people's power and their efforts combating corruption. We gave corrupt officials a warning that their behaviours were not tolerated," Shih said.
Protests
Prosecutors earlier this month indicted Shih, Fan and 14 other co-organizers of last year's national day protest for violating assembly laws in rallying in restricted areas without obtaining permits.
Shih, a former head of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party, kicked off the A-bian Out drive last year with round-the-clock protests in front of the presidential office.
The campaign peaked when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets on October 10, Taiwan's national day, demanding Chen's resignation over alleged corruption involving his wife, his son-in-law and himself.
The protesters, most wearing red shirts and hats to symbolise their anger and opposition to Chen, gathered several blocks away from the presidential office while Chen delivered his national day speech calling for unity.
The leader, insisting on his innocence, has refused to budge.
Shih claimed more than 1.5 million people had joined the national day mass protest although police put the figure at 500,000.
Shih, a political prisoner for 25 years, had served as DPP chairman between 1994-1996 when it was an opposition party. The DPP came to power in 2000.


Updated : 2021-02-28 17:54 GMT+08:00