The Alliance for Workers of Closed-Off Factories staged a protest outside the presidential residence on Tuesday night, calling on the government to withdraw lawsuits against them and clashing with security personnel.
More than a dozen protesters showed up unexpectedly with a Christmas tree in front of the presidential residence and began singing, to the tune of Silent Night: “Silent night, we have nothing to cook, there are bad bosses everywhere, they make so much money, they eat our flesh and blood.”
The police officers standing guard outside the gate called for backup forces as the number of protesters was high.
Photo: Loa Iok-sin, Taipei Times
The officers then lined up behind the protesters and began pushing. After that, the first wave of physical clashes began.
“What are you doing? We’re just singing a Christmas carol. We’re not doing anything violent,” a protester shouted.
The police soon declared the assembly illegal and asked the protesters to disband immediately, but the protesters responded by singing even louder.
“Stop pushing us. We are holding a religious activity here, which is not regulated by the Assembly and Parade Act [集會遊行法],” said Wuo Young-ie (吳永毅), a researcher for the Taiwan International Workers’ Association (TIWA).
During the clashes, a military police officer was dragged out of the line, while another had his baton taken by a protester.
The workers say they are owed retirement payouts from when their employers closed factories about 16 years ago.
The Council of Labor Affairs intervened at the time, giving payouts to the workers in the form of loans and promising that it would ask their employers to repay them.
However, when the deadline arrived, the council — unable to have the employers repay the loans — demanded that the workers repay them.
The council sued the people who failed to repay the loans, leading to a series of protests over the past two years.
After singing for nearly 10 minutes, the protesters called an end to the rally. However, they were angered when the police declared their action illegal for a second time as they were walking away, provoking a second wave of physical and verbal clashes.
“We will be back again on Dec. 31, be prepared,” TIWA executive director Wu Ching-ju (吳靜如) told the police as the protesters were leaving. “In fact, we will be here on every holiday until the government withdraws the lawsuits against the workers.”
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37
ARMS RACE: Two DPP lawmakers said that China’s development model differed from Taiwan’s, as it aims to become a global hegemon, while Taiwan seeks to protect itself Taiwanese national defense experts are split on how Taiwan should respond to the ever-growing budget of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with some advocating for Taiwan to increase defense spending, while others say that little can be done. The Legislative Yuan approved NT$358 billion (US$12.1 billion) for national defense spending across fiscal 2020, a 3.47 percent increase compared with last year, while China’s military budget this year is NT$5.4 trillion, more than 15 times that of Taiwan. Regardless of whether the government adopts a zero-based budgeting method for national defense spending — in which all expenses are justified and approved each