Barricades placed outside the Legislative Yuan are to remain amid security concerns over ongoing pension reform protests and intelligence reports that agitators, including former special forces personnel, might use smoke bombs and attack officers, a legislative official said yesterday.
Citing intelligence provided to the legislature on Monday afternoon by National Police Administration (NPA) Director-General Chen Kuo-en (陳國恩), Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) said that some protesters might take aggressive action aimed at causing bodily harm.
Many of the protesters are suspected to be retired police officers and military personnel, Lin quoted Chen as saying.
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
The agency believes there is a higher risk of police being attacked in the ongoing protest compared with previous pension reform protests — including the one on March 29 in which 22 officers were injured during clashes, Lin said.
Lin said the agency is taking the current protest seriously because the demonstrators are not ordinary citizens or young people, such as those who participated in the 2014 Sunflower movement.
The security measures are aimed at guaranteeing that the legislature can function normally, Lin said, adding that the agency is asking lawmakers and the media to bear with the situation.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Lawmakers are set to review pension reform proposals for public servants today and tomorrow.
The planned legislative review attracted a new wave of demonstrations yesterday by civic groups composed of public servants, teachers and military personnel that was organized by the Pension Reform Oversight Alliance, which staged what it called a “Besiege the Legislative Yuan” protest.
Lin said the legislature decided to keep the barricades after a meeting on Monday between Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus convener Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) and caucus secretary-general Alicia Wang (王育敏).
Lin said Sufin Siluko and Wang told Su that they were “troubled” by the wire barricades placed in the general area of the legislature.
Su assured the lawmakers that no barricades are to be placed within the legislature’s premises, but security outside the site is under the jurisdiction of the Taipei City Government and the police agency, Lin said.
Su said that if the KMT could convince protesters to pledge that they would not resort to violence, charge the legislature or clash with police, he would ask the NPA to reduce security levels in the area, Lin said.
As Su did not receive any message from the KMT caucus, the legislature could only conclude that the pledge was not forthcoming, Lin said.
Separately yesterday, Taipei Police Department Commissioner Chiu Feng-kuang (邱豐光) told city councilors during a question-and-answer session that about 2,000 police officers are to be deployed at the protest — 1,500 from the Taipei Police Department and 500 from the NPA.
Obstacles deployed include 1,248 sets of wire knife-rests, 230 rolls of concertina wire, 670 large-sized fences, 680 pedestrian barriers, 14 wire-laying vehicles and four vehicles with mounted floodlights, Chiu said, adding that no other special vehicles or water cannon trucks are to be used.
Additional reporting by CNA
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We