Wed, Apr 19, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Barricades outside legislature to stay

NO ORDINARY PEOPLE:Many pension reform protesters are suspected of having military training, which could pose a threat to police, a Legislative Yuan official said

By Chiu Yan-ling and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Pension Reform Oversight Alliance supporters hold flags and banners yesterday as they deliver a petition to the Control Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

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.

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.

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

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