Tue, Apr 15, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Officials pass the buck on removal of ART protesters

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan convener Tsay Ting-kuei, right, delivers a petition to a legislative representative outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Responsibility for the forced removal of protesters from the legislature’s front plaza which led to protests against the Zhongzheng First Police Precinct station on Friday night last week finally landed at the Taipei police commissioner’s door.

Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan (ART) convener Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴), who was hospitalized after running into traffic to delay the police action on Friday morning, returned on Sunday night to cheering crowds outside the legislature’s front door.

He thanked the protesters who “passed by” the precinct station to demand the police apologize and allow the ART to assemble, which had been unilaterally denied by the station, and said that Precinct Police Chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) told him the forced eviction was done due to “pressure from above.”

“[Fang said] the order to disperse the protesters came from the top through National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞). So the chief culprit would either be [Premier] Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺) or [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九),” Tsay said.

According to a report by the Chinese-language China Times, the Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan have both dismissed the accusation and high-ranking police pointed to Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) as the one who had ordered the eviction.

Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) responded to the allegation by saying that the commanding officer at the dispersion scene on Friday was Taipei Police Commissioner Huang Sheng-yung (黃昇勇).

“Huang made his decision in accordance with his duty and the situation, and Mayor Hau totally supports the police’s action that was based on the law. The mayor said he is willing to be held accountable if the public has any doubt against the Taipei Police Department’s decision,” Chang said.

Meanwhile, Tsay was also collecting petition signatures on Sunday night to request that the legislature grant the front plaza to the public for the supervision of the passing of the cross-strait agreements oversight mechanism and for the civic deliberation of the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement.

“When the representational system degenerates into the tyranny of the majority exemplified by the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] lawmakers, who have become a rubber stamp for Ma, people have the right to exercise their rights to directly supervise the government’s erroneous policies,” the petition says.

“As on April 10, 1999, when the plaza was once open to the public for the discussion of a referendum act, we are urging the Legislative Yuan to release the space to the citizens this time for a discussion of the pros and cons of the service trade pact and of the institutionalization of cross-strait agreements oversight mechanism,” it said.

Tsay and scores of supporters gathered outside the Legislative Yuan yesterday morning and tried to hand the petition to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), but it was received in the end by a representative.

After a brief standoff, Tsay told the crowd that he would be back again to demand direct talks with Wang himself, using more “radical means.”

“Wang turned down our petition today. When we come next time, please do not wear slippers or shorts because you will get hurt easily,” Tsay said as he pointed to the spikes on the Legislative Yuan’s front gate.

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