Hundred of residents of Houlong Township (後龍), Miaoli County, clashed with police yesterday morning as contractors planned to start construction of a large-scale Build-Own-Operate funeral facility. One woman sustained head injuries in the fray.
Leading a squad of 300 police officers carrying riot shields and truncheons, Miaoli County police chief Tseng Yi-chiung (曾義瓊) headed southward along Provincial Highway No. 1 at about 6am to the construction site, where hundreds of protesters had been standing guard in shifts to prevent construction work from starting.
The demonstrators were part of a self-help group, formed by a number of township residents opposed to the building of the funeral center.
The protesters said they are worried about the environmental pollution that will be caused by the construction, adding that they were not warned in advance or consulted about the project.
The Gods Park — a project led by the Miaoli County government — will house several funeral-related facilities, including cremation sites, graveyards and mortuaries, on the 28 hectare plot of land
While police and construction workers attempted to make their way into the site, protesters pushed back, causing several female demonstrators to fall to the ground and leaving one woman with head injuries.
Although no severe injuries were reported, police said they had found dozens of wine bottles filled with gasoline under the bushes in the area, and urged the residents to remain calm and rational.
“The Gods Park in Houlong Township is part of the county government’s public policies, and the facility has already undergone all legal procedures. Our actions today were only taken to safeguard public power,” Tseng said.
Houlong Township’s Longkeng Village (龍坑) Mayor Kuo Kuei-hui (郭貴輝) said that while contractors were protected by the police force, ordinary people could not compete and their only option would be to resort to legal action.