Students did not expect police to ‘use such force’

By Chiu Yen-ling, Su Fang-ho and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - Page 1

Speaking about his experience of being evicted by police from the Executive Yuan in Taipei on Sunday, a student from Soochow University on Tuesday said he had “not expected the police to use such force.”

The student, surnamed Chen (陳), said he and some classmates had been sitting in protest against the cross-strait service trade agreement behind the Executive Yuan’s back gates, near Beiping East Road, when the police were about to start forcibly removing students from the premises.

“It was an area where there were fewer reporters present, and we were all driven away by the police,” Chen said, adding that the student who was in charge of the protest had specifically told them not to resist or cause any confrontation if the police acted against them.

“The student coordinator said: ‘Just sit tight, link your arms together and lie back,’” Chen said.

Chen said he was in the first row and was the second in the area to have been moved, adding that he had not expected to be hit with batons and kicked when he was “handled” by police.

“Even when I was curling up into a ball to protect myself, the police said I was not supposed to move,” Chen said.

He added that officers told him to get up and start walking out, but when he complied they hit him on the back of the knee, causing him to fall forward.

They kicked him in the eyes, and he had lost his glasses in the process, he said, adding that he was diagnosed at the National Taiwan University Hospital with retinal edema, a slight concussion and bruising.

Although he knew he would be forcibly removed from the Executive Yuan, Chen said he had not expected such excessive use of force, adding that the experience made him angry at Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) for saying that the police had removed the students in an amicable way.

“I never believed that Taiwan’s democracy would regress to how it was a decade ago, that is what saddens me the most,” Chen said.

Meanwhile, a student named Lo Wen-shao (羅文劭) said in a message posted on Facebook at 3am yesterday that the police rounded up the students on Sunday night after sending the media away, and hit everyone they could see.

“They did not even make a distinction between gender,” he said.

He said he was hit on the calf, adding that another officer had kicked him in the head and told him to get out.

“Have we killed, pillaged or committed arson? I do not understand how we, who were unarmed, nonresistant, and only wanting to defend the democratic system and our own future, warranted such treatment?” Lo wrote.