Taiwan DPP leader apologizes for not amending assembly and parade law

Taipei, Nov. 23 (CNA) Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen visited a group of student demonstrators at Liberty Square in Taipei Sunday and apologized for the DPP's failure to amend the Assembly and Parade Law during its eight years as the ruling party.
"The DPP had its beginnings with street protests, " said Tsai, who added that "we started as the opposition party of Taiwan."
The students had set up what they described as a "funeral service" at Liberty Square, to mark the "death of human rights " in Taiwan.
"After we, the DPP, became the ruling party, we had to attend to many issues in running the government, " Tsai told the students.
"Therefore, we did not have enough time to push for the amendment of the Assembly and Parade Law. The DPP deeply regrets this," she said.
Tsai continued that she will lead the DPP, now the opposition party, to focus on human rights issues. "If we do not do so then we do not deserve to have a place as the opposition party of Taiwan, " she said.
The demonstrators are calling, among other things, for an amendment to the Assembly and Parade Law.
Pro-independence groups led by the DPP held a series of demonstrations earlier this month in Taipei during a historic Nov. 3-7 visit by Chen Yunlin, who as president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) serves as China's top negotiator with Taiwan.
The demonstrations turned violent, with some protesters throwing bottles and rocks at police and pushing down police barricades. Police responded with force, using water cannon and making arrests.
Addressing the issue of the violence that marred the demonstrations, Tsai said that those who engage in street protests are very emotional and she claimed that therefore, skirmishes are "unavoidable."
The student group, which calls itself the "Wild Strawberries, " has since staged a sit-in in Taipei to protest the government's handling of the incident, which it claims involved an excessive use of force by police.
In addition to amending the Assembly and Parade Law, the group is also demanding the replacement of National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Chao- ming and National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun. In addition, it wants an open apology from Ma and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan for the poor handling of street protests during Chen Yunlin's visit.
The proposed law amendments would relax restrictions on the people's right to demonstrate. The existing law requires permission to be obtained in advance from the police for protests and demonstrations, while the amendment would require only that demonstrators notify the police beforehand about any protest rally.