Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilors and protesters yesterday clashed with police at a rally in Taipei against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), leaving dozens of protesters and police officers injured.
The protest, led by DPP Greater Tainan Councilor Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) and DPP Taipei City Councilor Tung Chung-yen (童仲彥), was held on Ketagalan Boulevard near the Presidential Office, five days after a 13-day sit-in ended violently on Saturday.
“We only intended to make a peaceful appeal, which does not require any prior application, as it is not deemed an assembly or parade, and we had a protest letter for Ma. However, we were forcefully evicted by police,” said Wang, who suffered an arm injury and accused police of assault.
Wang said he would press charges with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office today.
Accompanied by injured officers, Wu Ching-chung (吳進忠), deputy director of Taipei City Police Department’s Zhongzheng First Precinct, held a press conference shortly after the incident and accused Tung and other protesters of assaulting police.
“Three male and nine female officers were injured during the eviction and the police department will collect evidence related to the attacks and handle the matter in accordance with the law,” Wu said as two officers showed wounds on their arms.
The police began taking protesters away from the scene after they had explained to the protesters that their assembly was unauthorized, Wu said, adding that some pushing and shoving had occurred in the process.
Countering the accusations, Tung said that the police launched a “sneak attack” and that he was injured on one side of his abdomen and suffered bruising on both arms.
Holding a press conference to showcase the wounds sustained by police officers was merely staging a show, Tung said.
An unidentified woman, who was also injured in the protest, said she was shoved to the ground and trampled by police.
She said her lip was split in the melee.
Earlier yesterday, several pastors from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan held a press conference on Ketagalan Boulevard to lodge three appeals to Ma, calling for a two-year freeze on fuel and electricity prices, maintaining a ban on any meat products containing ractopamine residue and amending the Referendum Act (公投法) to allow contentious livelihood issues to be dealt with via referendum.
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan General Assembly moderator Pusin Tali (布興大立), who presided over the press conference, said Ma had flip-flopped on his electricity rate-hike policy, which was initially to be a one-time increase, but was subsequently revised to a three-stage process.
“Following the Jan. 14 presidential election, the root source of Taiwan’s social disturbances and public panic has been Ma himself,” he said, adding that a national leader who only brings more suffering to the people does not deserve to be one.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer