Thu, Oct 24, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Activists pan power firm for violence

VICIOUS:The activists said elderly residents of Yuanli Township were beaten and a security guard hit one in the face with a rock while police officers did nothing

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Residents of Yuanli Township, Miaoli County, yesterday accuse the InfraVest Wind Power Group of injuring several people during their protest against the company’s construction of wind turbines.

Photo: Tsai Cheng-min, Taipei Times

Activists against a wind turbine construction project in Miaoli County’s Yuanli Township (苑裡) yesterday criticized wind energy firm InfraVest over violent acts by security guards during a protest by local residents at the construction site.

Showing pictures of construction site security guards and workers clashing verbally and physically with protesters at 2am yesterday morning, activists accused InfraVest of attempting to illegally continue wind turbine construction early in the morning before the Bureau of Energy was due to hold a special meeting on wind turbines later yesterday morning and allowing its workers and security guards to attack protesters who tried to stop the construction.

“Early in the morning, at about 2am, InfraVest sent in a construction crew which tried to restart wind turbine construction. We local residents tried to stop them and the construction workers and security guards used violence against us,” said Liu Yu-yu (劉育育), a Yuanli resident and a member of a local self-help organization, at a brief press conference outside the Bureau of Energy in Taipei as the meeting took place inside. “Some of the elderly residents were beaten, hit in the face, and a security guard even hit a resident’s face with a small rock he picked up from the ground.”

Showing injury diagnosis certificates issued by a hospital, Liu said police officers were standing aside and doing nothing when the violence occurred.

“We are not against green energy, we support it, but we believe that the well-being of local residents should be taken into consideration when wind turbines are erected,” Liu said.

Yeh Ting-kui (葉丁貴), another resident of Yuanli, said the company attempted to restart the construction in the early hours of the morning because it knew local residents were heading to the Bureau of Energy in Taipei to protest outside the meeting.

“I wonder if the Bureau of Energy and InfraVest set the whole thing up?” Yeh asked.

Originally, some residents were invited to attend, but they were upset that not everyone affected would be allowed into the meeting and therefore all those who oppose the wind turbine project decided not to attend the meeting in protest.

Yuanli residents have been protesting the project for more than a year.

While not opposed to wind power, residents said they were upset about the proximity of some of the turbines to their homes, worrying that low-frequency noise from the machines may disturb them and that their safety could be threatened should fans from the turbines break off — an incident that has occurred in Taoyuan County, although there were no buildings or anyone close by when the fan fell off.

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