Thu, Dec 24, 2009 - Page 1 News List

CROSS STRAIT TALKS: Police officer injured in Taichung protests

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER, IN TAICHUNG

One police officer was taken to hospital and six men were arrested last night after the officer fell from a truck as he tried to stop protesters from shooting fireworks at the hotel where Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) was staying.

The incident marked the most serious injury and the first arrests during this week’s cross-strait talks.

The Taichung City Police Bureau said the officer, Chen Chu-hsiang (陳諸想), was pushed from the vehicle by members of the pro-independence “908 Taiwan Republic Campaign.”

Doctors said Chen sustained an eye injury and would undergo a brain scan to check for head injuries, the bureau said.

Taichung City Police Deputy Chief Yu Hui-mao (余輝茂) said Chen climbed onto the vehicle to ask the protesters to stop setting off the rockets because they could injure people around them on the main road in front of the hotels where the Taiwanese and Chinese delegations were staying.

Chen reportedly fell from the truck at 7:02pm, about 30 minutes after a banquet hosted by Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) for the delegations began at the Windsor Hotel.

The six men were arrested on charges of public endangerment, obstruction of justice and causing injury.

At 10:30pm police released video footage at a press conference apparently showing the officer being pushed.

The protesters had said that they had footage proving Chen fell and was not pushed.

One of the protesters, surnamed Shen, said she saw the officer slip and fall, adding that she felt intimidated by police during the protest.

Approximately 300 armed officers had been dispatched to maintain security and order around the hotels. Yu said he would not increase the number.

Yesterday morning, two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taichung City councilors gained access to the heavily policed restricted zone around the hotels and held up posters attacking the proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with Beijing.

The two women were immediately prevented by police from reaching the Windsor.

Later, also near the hotels, a group of DPP councilors released a few dozen pigeons, calling them “peace doves” and urging Beijing to remove more than 1,000 missiles pointed at Taiwan.

A group brought by DPP Taipei City Councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) threw blue and white flip-flops at portraits of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chen Yunlin.

Both delegations had left their hotels to tour central Taiwan before the protests began.

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