Tue, Nov 13, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT slams MP for mistreating young protesters

By Flora Wang and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday accused President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) bodyguards of manhandling several students who tried to plead their cause with the president on Sunday.

"Although Taiwan calls itself a democracy, people are still not allowed to plead with the president. Nor does the president listen to the voice of the people," KMT caucus whip Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) told a press conference.

Kuo was referring to a demonstration while Chen was giving a speech during National Cheng Kung University's school anniversary on Sunday.

Six students on a sports field held up banners and shouted "Designate Lo Sheng Sanatorium a historic site." They were taken away immediately by security personnel.

The sanatorium for sufferers of Hansen's Disease was built under Japanese colonial rule in 1930 in Sinjhuang (新莊), Taipei County. The Taipei City and Taipei County governments are demolishing the facility to make way for the Sinjhuang mass rapid transit Line.

The KMT caucus yesterday showed reporters two pictures -- one of the guards throwing a female student to the ground while another guard dragged away a male student who was kneeling down as he tried to plead with Chen.

Kuo lashed out at the guards for dealing with "unarmed students this way," adding that this had traumatized the students physically and psychologically.

KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), who was also at the conference, said the way the presidential guards treated the students showed that Chen seemed to regard the people as "terrorists."

Such treatment had also undermined public trust and respect for the president, Hung said.

In response, the Military Police (MP) said yesterday that MPs would never tackle protesters.

"MPs form part of National Security Bureau personnel. But the presidential guard who tackled the girl is not [a member of the bureau]," said Major General Kao Yao-bin (高耀斌), police chief-of-staff, while answering Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fangs (林郁方) questions during the legislature's National Defense Committee meeting yesterday morning.

Kao said that MPs have been trained and know how to behave while enforcing the law.

"We always try to talk to the subject first," Kao said.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus accused the KMT of orchestrating the latest string of incidents involving the president.

"I encourage the KMT to stand up and bravely admit it," DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

"Taiwanese would not do things like that. It is obvious that there's a mastermind behind all these using them as an election ploy," Ker said. "It is clever. It does not cost a lot of money, but it creates the desired effect."

Commenting on the presidential guard's alleged tackling of a female protester, DPP Legislator Kao Chien-chih (高建智) said it was understandable.

"A presidential guard's job is to protect the president. At that instant, it was difficult for him to tell who the protester was and whether the protester was a danger to the president. All he needed to do was to `disable' the protester and he did it just fine," Kao said.

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