Mon, Sep 18, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Police under fire over scuffling

BOILING POINT The color of a person's clothing was enough to make them the target of attacks on Saturday, and some said police could have better controlled the crowd


National Police Agency Director-General Hou Yu-ih, right, shakes hands with a policeman at the Railway Police Bureau at Taipei Railway Station during a visit yesterday to thank officers for their hard work during the anti-Chen protests.


As the divisions brought out by the protests to remove the president deepen, police yesterday came under criticism over their handling of sporadic incidences of violence over the weekend.

Numerous minor scuffles broke out on Saturday between supporters of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and followers of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) anti-Chen campaign.

National Police Agency Director-General Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) yesterday told the media that police would not tolerate any violence, and that police were attempting to identify all suspects involved in the scuffles on Saturday.

Hou said police had already identified individuals who allegedly harassed local TV anchors during Saturday's rally held in support of Chen.

Those suspects would be interviewed soon after they were located, Hou added.

However, some people criticized the police for not "applying same speedy action" when looking for anti-Chen protesters who harassed and attacked pro-Chen supporters as they walked past Taipei Railway Station on their way home.

On Saturday, an anchor and cameraman for CtiTV were trying to hold a live interview of DPP Legislator Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅) from the middle of the pro-Chen protests.

Their television station has set up a platform near Jing Fu Men (景福門), a traditional-style gate near the Presidential Office, from which they can broadcast live coverage of the protests.

The anchor was forced to stop the interview after demonstrators, who had been cheering in support of Wang, started booing the anchor after they realized which station he was from. Many pan-green supporters perceive CtiTV as having pro-China sympathies.

Eventually, one pro-Chen demonstrator partially obscured the camera lens with a rain jacket, while another jumped up on the platform and tried to speak, eventually unplugging a power cable. CtiTV cut off its coverage because of the "rioters," cutting back to their newsdesk.

No one was hurt in the incident.

Minutes later, an Eastern Television anchorwoman and cameraman were also forced to stop their live broadcast, after six or seven demonstrators jumped onto the platform and interrupted their broadcast. Again, no one was injured.

More serious tussles took place as pro-Chen supporters started showing up at Taipei Railway Station on their way home.

double standards?

Contemporary Monthly's editor-in-chief, Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒), who was attacked on live television late last month by an anti-Chen supporter, poured scorn on the country's media for applying double standards to the violence.

"By all means we condemn any use of violence," Ching said at an event held by the DPP's Taipei mayoral candidate, Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).

He then compared the response to Chinese Unity Promotion Party chairman Lin Cheng-chieh's (林正杰) attack on him during the Formosa Television talk show The People Talk.

"Those people at [Saturday's] rally did not in any way assault the anchors, yet many of the TV cable news stations labeled them as rioters. Meanwhile, Lin, who resorted to physical violence and attacked me, was being welcomed as a hero at the anti-Chen venue, and was busy signing autographs," Chin said.

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