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DPP heavyweights to head May 19 protest parade

2012/05/18 20:53:04

Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, who also serves as the acting chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and former Premier Su Tseng-chang will lead protest parades in Taipei Saturday to demonstrate against President Ma Ying-jeou and his policies.

The trio will head protesters on separate routes of the big parade, DPP director of youth affairs Lee Cheng-yi announced.

The three routes will begin at the old Songshan Tobacco Factory, National Taiwan University, and the Wanhua Railway Station, and end at the intersection of Beiping East Road and Linsen North Road, near the Taipei Railway Station, he said.

Chen will lead protesters on the route departing from the old tobacco factory and will be joined by the son of jailed former President Chen Shui-bian, Chen Chih-chung.

Tsai will lead protesters departing from National Taiwan University, and Su will head the parade that starts in Wanhua, the party said.

The DPP's legislative caucus has urged people to stand out on May 19 to voice their strong opposition to the Ma government's policies, including moves to raise fuel and electricity prices and to allow imports of U.S. beef containing residues of the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.

Meanwhile, at a "public complaint center" set up by DPP Legislator Yao Wen-chih Friday to take complaints about the government's policies, former DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh blamed Ma for fluctuationsin retail product prices that he said were triggered by governmentmoves to raise fuel and power prices.

"With NT$100,000, people still cannot afford things that were priced at NT$90,000 four years ago," Hsieh complained. "President Ma can block the proposal to recall him at the Legislative Yuan, but he cannot stop price hikes."

A public survey conducted by the Chinese-language United Daily News on May 15-17 showed that Ma's popularity has dropped to 23 percent, from 66 percent when he first took office in 2008.

A majority of those surveyed who were not satisfied with Ma's administration criticized the president for not paying attention to public opinion.

Ma, who defeated DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan's presidential election on Jan. 14, will be inaugurated onMay 20 for a second term.

Also on Friday, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) -- part of the pro-independence "pan-green" camp led by the DPP -- called on those who join the DPP rally Saturday to also take part in its planned protest Sunday, to be held at Huashan Creative Park.

The People First Party legislative caucus said the party will not join the DPP parade on Saturday but will not prohibit its members from taking part in the protest privately.

"It will not be a surprise if Chairman (James) Soong shows up" at the parade, the caucus said.

The National Police Agency said it will mobilize 8,000 officers to police the Taipei districts where the planned parades will be held this weekend.

(By Lin Shen-hsu, Johnson Sun and Elizabeth Hsu)