Sat, Dec 13, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Crowd condemns violence ahead of hearing

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the Wild Strawberry Student Movement hold a press conference at Liberty Square in Taipei yesterday in response to the start of a hearing at the Taipei District Court into alleged use of violence by the government during anti-China protests last month. The students accused Taipei City police of using force to remove them from Liberty Square on Thursday night.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FONG, TAIPEI TIMES

Accompanied by hundreds of supporters, three women who have filed lawsuits against the police for allegedly beating them during anti-China protests last month, marched to the Taipei District Court for their first court hearing yesterday.

“Our judicial system is not perfect, but we still have some expectations of it. That's why we're trying to seek justice through the judiciary against police abuses,” Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Lin Feng-cheng (林峰正) told a crowd gathered at Liberty Square in support of the complainants before marching to the courthouse a few blocks away.

“We hope the judge will be fair and give us justice,” he said.

The three complainants, Huang Yi-ling (黃怡翎), Tseng Hung-wen (曾虹文) and Lin Yun-tzu (林芸姿) — who did not know each other at the time — were talking to friends in front of a store across the street from the Formosa Regent Taipei on the night of Nov. 5, they told the crowd.

At the time, China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) was at a dinner banquet hosted by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) inside the hotel.

As anti-China demonstrators surrounded the hotel and blocked Chen from leaving the venue, the police began to disperse the demonstrators around 10pm.

Before realizing what was going on, the three were pushed by the police against a wall and beaten.

“I was shocked and frightened,” Huang said. “Until today, I still feel fear whenever I see police officers.”

As the three could not identify the police officers who allegedly beat them, they decided to file a lawsuit against Taipei City's Xinyi Precinct police chief Huang Chia-lu (黃嘉祿) — who was the Songshan Precinct chief and on-site police commander at the time.

After explaining their case and showing a video they shot while being dispersed, the three walked to the courthouse accompanied by hundreds of supporters holding a sign that read: “I condemn state violence.”

As it was the first court hearing, the judge only heard their cases and reviewed the evidence.

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