Wed, Aug 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

NPA to deploy `special police' for sit-in

TAIPEI SECURITY The agency will bring in 3,000 police officers who are trained to deal with mass public demonstrations to `maintain order and prevent violence'

By Rich Chang and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The National Police Agency (NPA) yesterday said it would allocate special police to Taipei to help maintain order during a protest to be staged later this month against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Special police are officers whose primary job is to keep order during mass demonstrations.

"About 3,000 special police from the NPA will be first allocated to Taipei, and they will be deployed around the boulevard in front of the Presidential Office during the demonstration," NPA Director-General Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) said in a statement.

Hou was referring to a sit-in that is to be launched by former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) and is aimed at urging the president to step down.

Police officers from local police departments around the country would also be dispatched to Taipei if necessary, Hou added.

"Maintaining order and preventing violence will be the priorities for police on duty during the protest," Hou said.

The NPA also transported more than 500 old-style barricades to Taipei from around the country.

The agency had said on Monday that "it was unlikely" that 1,000 sets of new barricades equipped with razor wire would be deployed for the demonstration.

Taipei City councilors yesterday cited a case in which a boy had been injured by razor-wire barricades while demanding that the agency never deploy the new barricades during protests.

According to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Chen Yi-chou (陳義洲), 22 years ago a three-year-old boy surnamed Chou suffered a head injury from a razor wire barricade when playing at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. That accident caused him to develop epilepsy.

Chou received NT$590,000 (US$18,000) in compensation for the injury and the government removed the barricades.

Chou died of the epilepsy five years later.

"It's unbelievable that the NPA would use this kind of dangerous barricade against its own people during such a democratic time," said Chen Yi-chou at a press conference yesterday.

Chen Yi-chou helped the Chou family win the compensation.

While the NPA said the new barricades were not intended for crowd control at public rallies, city councilors urged the police to take back the barricades to ease concerns that they could be deployed during Shih's protest.

"There are many schools around the sit-in area ? If the NPA deploys the barricades there, who will take responsibility if students get hurt like Chou did?" KMT City Councilor Ouyang Lung (歐陽龍) said.

Ou, Chen Yi-chou and KMT City Councilor Wang Chih-bing (汪志冰) said that they had already presented a proposal -- which was supported by councilors from across party lines -- that called on the NPA not to use the new barricades during public protests.

"If any resident gets hurt by the barricades, we will ask the government for ... compensation," Wang said.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) repeated that the Taipei Police Department had already promised not to use the new barricades, and said that the barricades, even if they were used in a protest, would not be deployed in the front row.

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