Fri, Jul 19, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Dapu houses torn down amid protests

DEMOLISHING TRUST:A demolition squad with hundreds of police in tow destroyed the houses as family members and their supporters were in Taipei

By Loa Iok-sin and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporters

Dapu residents and their supporters began a sit-in demonstration on the land where their homes once stood immediately after the demolition work was completed and the police withdrew.

Separately yesterday, Wu dismissed criticism that he failed to keep his promise of keeping the homes in Dapu intact and said the government respected Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung’s (劉政鴻) authority in handling the case.

“The government has put emotional, rational and legal aspects of the case into consideration in handling the case. How is that breaking my promise?” Wu said.

Ninety-nine percent of the households were not against the county government’s plan, he added.

He said he has advised Liu to communicate with the Chang family regarding the Chang Pharmacy (張藥房) and suggested that the county government handle the case carefully.

“Liu had to act in accordance with the law and maintain justice for the residents of Miaoli County. I respect his decision,” Wu said.

In 2010, as premier, Wu had promised to preserve the four houses amid the government’s effort to resolve disputes over the county’s plan to expand a science park in the area.

He held a negotiation meeting with Liu and Jiang earlier this month to discuss the county government’s handling of the case. However, the meeting failed to resolve disputes and Liu remained firm that the four houses should be demolished.

To protest against the county government’s demolition of the buildings, a group of students interrupted Ma’s speech at an opening ceremony for a biotech exhibition at the Nangang Exhibition Hall, shouting: “Save Dapu.”

The protesting students were removed by the police as they continued to chant the slogan. Ma went on with his speech without commenting on the demolitions.

Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) described the demolition as “state violence” that destroyed the Ma administration’s credibility and intensified people’s anger at, and disappointment in, the government.

“Vice President Wu and Premier Jiang, who pledged to keep the villagers’ houses intact, should step forward and stop the demolition,” Su said in Taipei earlier yesterday as the demolition was about to take place in Miaoli.

The demolitions showed that the government had not kept its promise and did not have compassion with underprivileged people, Su said.

Additional reporting by Chris Wang

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