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Police ready to face May 20 pro-independence rallies

2012/05/14 16:25:37

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) A high-ranking Taipei police official said Monday that the authorities will stick to law enforcement principles when policing pro-independence rallies May 19-20 that are set to coincide with President Ma Ying-jeou's inauguration to a second term.

Speaking at a press conference held by the legislative caucus of the opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), Taipei City Police Department Deputy Director Wei Ti-kun repeated the principles of "protecting those who follow the law, cracking down on irregularities and arresting those who exercise violence."

Legislator Lin Shih-chia, a TSU caucus whip, expressed hope that the police will not deploy razor wire or alternative service draftees around the planned protest rallies.

She also said the police should not use pepper spray to drive protesters away.

Wei said security force deployment programs have been worked out for the May 20 inauguration ceremony. Traffic controls will be imposed depending on the security requirements for the officials and foreign guests invited to attend the national event, he said.

No razor wire will be deployed and under the existing regulations governing police affairs, alternative service draftees cannot be deployed on the front line of police activities, he said.

According to Wei, the police are not equipped with pepper spray.

Calling on those planning to attend the protest rallies to do so in a peaceful and rational manner, the police official said anyone not planning to take part should avoid approaching restricted zones around the Presidential Office, where the inauguration ceremony will be held.

The TSU is among several pro-independence organizations that are expected to jointly stage a series of protest rallies and parades around the country May 19-20.

Urging the Taiwanese people to stand up and voice their discontent with Ma, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei blasted the president, accusing him of surrendering Taiwan's sovereignty to Beijing with his "pro-China" policy.

Ma "will become a joke if he dares to curry favor with China in his inaugural speech," he said.

In addition to the TSU, the organizers of the protest activities include the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, the Taiwan Nation Alliance and the Taiwan Association of University Professors.

(By Justine Su, Lin Shen-hsu and Elizabeth Hsu)
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