Lawmakers and activists yesterday accused Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) of repeatedly lying about injury reports and the violent nature of the crackdown on protesters on Monday, saying that government and police officials in charge of the action should be held responsible.
Jiang has repeatedly cited questionable injury reports in his press conferences and tried to create the perception that police had sustained more injuries than protesters, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference.
Jiang said in the aftermath of the crackdown early on Monday morning against thousands of protesters who occupied the Executive Yuan compound that 55 protesters and 52 police officers were injured during the eviction. He later changed those numbers to 174 reported injuries, including 119 sustained by police officers and 55 by protesters.
Based on the report, Jiang said in a press conference at the Executive Yuan yesterday that the use of force by police was “reasonable.”
According to an injury report compiled by the National Police Agency (NPA), only 13 of the 119 police officers reported to be injured were treated at a hospital and the injuries they sustained were almost all minor, such as abrasions, lacerations or minor fractures in their hands and feet.
The police could have exaggerated their reports to inflate the injury toll, Chen said.
Even if there were fewer injured protesters than police, the lawmaker said the injuries to protesters were almost all sustained to the head, showing that police assaulted unarmed protesters and attacked one of the most fragile parts of the body.
Jiang was obligated to explain the chain of command that oversaw the crackdown, because NPA Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) told lawmakers in a legislative committee meeting on Thursday that Jiang had ordered the eviction by telephone at 7:30pm on Sunday, DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said.
A document request committee has been established in the Legislative Yuan to demand the Executive Yuan, the NPA and other related government agencies to submit surveillance video, on-site video clips and telephone records for Jiang, Wang and responsible police commanders to the committee within 10 days.
The committee will launch an investigation into the bloody incident and hold every responsible official, including Jiang, accountable for their wrongdoing, Lee said.
A group of students who say they were assaulted by police using batons and shields on Monday organized a press conference outside the Executive Yuan compound yesterday, which is now heavily barricaded behind barbed wire. The group accused the government of using excessive force against unarmed protesters.
One member of the group, surnamed Chang (張), who was one of the 16 protesters prosecuted on several counts over breaking into the Executive Yuan’s main building, said he did not understand why police would resort to such violence to control peaceful demonstrators.
Chang said he was trapped on a balcony on the second floor and witnessed the entire eviction process and how protesters in the open area of the compound were beaten by police.
As police evicted the students to the ground floor, Chang said he heard one of the officers shout to the students on the second floor: “You guys up there will be dead in a few minutes.”