Sunflower movement student leaders Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) yesterday voiced their support for the protest held outside Zhongzheng First Police Precinct on Friday night, while accusing Precinct Chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) of breaking his word by issuing what they called an “unconstitutional” rejection of the Taiwan Referendum Alliance’s assembly and parade application on a permanent basis.
“I would like to condemn the precinct chief for breaking his promise that he would not evict the alliance’s protesters and announcing that the authorities would not only revoke assembly and parade permit already granted to the alliance, but will never approve any such applications from the group again,” Lin said in a Facebook post.
“It is definitely unconstitutional for him to announce that the alliance’s assembly and parade permit application will never be approved again and a breach of trust for him to evict the protesters after having promised not to,” the student activist added.
While many media outlets and politicians — including Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) —praised Fang as a law-abiding, hardworking, upright officer, Chen said that the description is far removed from the truth.
During a protest in support of laid-off workers staged in front of the Presidential Office Building, Chen said that police arrested him before issuing three warnings, as required by the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法).
The act requires police to first warn demonstrators that they are in violation of the law, then ask them to leave and then tell them they will be dispersed before an eviction can be carried out, he said.
“At the police station, I asked officers what law I had broken, but no one answered me, except for one officer, who told me: ‘We have no choice but to follow the order from above,’” Chen said on Facebook.
“I asked them if it was Fang who passed down the order, but they only gave me helpless smiles and refused to answer,” he added.
Chen added that there are numerous more incidents of Fang ordering officers to do things that are not in accordance with the law, making it justified to hold a protest asking him to step down.
An officer in Fang’s precinct voiced similar complaints to the Taipei Times on condition of anonymity.
“Fang knows that government leaders like officers who take a harsh stance on protesters, so he always tries to deal with demonstrations with an iron fist,” the officer said.
“There are many officers who are experienced in handling demonstrations and could do the job well, but Fang always wants to show off and do things that upset the activists and make the situation worse,” the officer added
“Ultimately, it’s the lower-ranking officers who then have to take over and solve the problem that Fang created,” he said.