Tue, Mar 25, 2014 - Page 3 News List

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Activists condemn use of force in protest breakup

BLOODSHED:Protest leaders said the president and premier should be held responsible for the conflict for ignoring the demands of tens of thousands of people

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Police officers scuffle with a protester outside the Executive Yuan during a demonstration in Taipei early yesterday.

Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP

Student activists occupying the legislative chamber yesterday condemned the government for using violence in dispersing protesters at the Executive Yuan.

“Students are not guilty! Dennis Wei (魏揚) is not guilty!” activists inside the legislative building shouted as they voiced their support for protesters occupying the Executive Yuan who were violently dispersed by police yesterday morning.

Wei is one of the student leaders of the protest.

“There is no violent crowd, but only violent government,” Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), a graduate student at National Tsing Hua University and one of the protest leaders, told a press conference in the legislative chamber.

“President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) should be held responsible for the bloodshed during the forced eviction of protesters, who were only forced into taking over the Executive Yuan because Ma and Jiang ignored the demands raised by tens of thousands of people demonstrating within and outside the Legislative Yuan,” Chen said.

Hundreds of protesters began to storm into the Executive Yuan compound on Sunday evening in an attempt to take over the building — apparently following the model of another group of protesters, led by Chen and National Taiwan University graduate student Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆), who have occupied the Legislative Yuan since Tuesday last week.

Unlike in the previous case, riot police were dispatched to evict the intruders this time, and by 5am yesterday, the Executive Yuan was cleared of demonstrators.

“It is especially unjust to press six charges against Wei, who was only there to maintain order and calm the crowd,” Chen said, bursting into tears.

Wei, also a graduate student at National Tsing Hua University, showed up at the demonstration after the crowd took over the Executive Yuan, hoping to prevent the situation from getting out of control. He tried to pacify the crowd until the last moment, when riot police surrounded him. He was arrested, and prosecutors have pressed six charges against him.

Lee Chun-ta (李俊達), a spokesman for the protesters, said that lawyers sympathetic to their demonstration would file criminal complaints against Jiang, National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and other police chiefs who presided over the crackdown for the cruel treatment of the students.

Additional reporting by CNA

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