Several civic groups yesterday demonstrated outside the Executive Yuan, accusing the government of using the judiciary as a tool to repress various rights movements and vowing that they would not stop, regardless of the government’s actions.
Dozens of people representing Huaguang Community (華光社區) residents, the Taiwan Rural Front (TRF), residents against wind turbines in Yuanli Township (苑裡), Miaoli County, the Taiwan Alliance for Victims of Urban Renewal (TAVUR) and the National Alliance for Workers of Closed Factories yesterday rallied outside the Executive Yuan in protest, as most of these organizations have had members prosecuted for protesting.
“Since July 18, more than 21 people who have protested against forcible demolitions of private homes in Dapu Borough (大埔), Miaoli County — TRF members and non-members alike — have been arrested or prosecuted,” TRF member Chiang Ping-lun (江昺崙) told the crowd, who stood in pouring rain. “Twenty-one people have been handcuffed and taken away by police because they protested against the injustice that happened to the residents of Dapu — something is wrong with our government.”
While the government always insists that it is “acting according to the law” when it tears down private homes or takes away private lands, Chiang said that according to the law, the government has the authority to decide whether to exclude homes or lands whose owners are opposed to the expropriation.
“Residents who are in their old age begged you, but you simply turned away from them — you could have saved their lives without breaking any law,” Chiang said.
“According to the law, the government could help people resettle before taking away their houses or lands,” TAVUR chairman Peng Lung-san (彭龍三) said. “It could also just ignore the suffering of the people — the government is acting according to the law in both situations, and I don’t know why it always has to choose the latter.”
Cheng Chang Lai-yu (鄭張來于), a 78-year-old resident of Yuanli worried about the impact of wind turbines being built near her home, became very emotional and asked the government to have mercy.
“How do I lead a normal life in my own house when a wind turbine is so close to my house? I am almost 80 years old now, all I hope for is to live peacefully in my own house for the rest of my life,” Cheng Chang said. “How could the government be so cruel to not respond to such a humble request from an old woman?”