Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Youth Development director Chang Chi-chang (張基長) and DPP member Chou Yu-hsiu (周榆修) held a press conference yesterday accusing the government of using police to tail students involved in the Sunflower movement in an attempt to scare them into not participating in protests.
Chang said the National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA) had allowed police, armed with batons, to enter the campus at 1:40pm.
The police followed students who participated in the recent protests and recorded them with handheld video recorders.
On Monday, NTUA students in the university’s Department of Sculpture began work on a sunflower sculpture, which they delivered to the Legislative Yuan on foot from the campus, which is in Banciao District (板橋), New Taipei City.
The students altered their schedule to leave the campus due to the police presence, Chang said, adding that despite the police helping the students by clearing their passage, their presence might have been to keep the students under tabs.
The police drove cars onto the campus grounds to the department’s doorsteps and were carrying batons, Chang said.
Chang said that the Ministry of Education might have put pressure on the university to allow the police onto the campus, adding that there was no reason the police had to enter the campus over a simple, peaceful event such as delivering a sculpture to the Legislative Yuan.
“Did [Department of Sculpture] dean Hsieh Chuan-cheng (謝顓丞) know about the police activity, did the police notify him? If he knew and agreed, then he should not be the dean,” Chou said.
In response to the accusations, the New Taipei City police Banciao Precinct said it received a tip that biker gangs might attack the students so it sent officers to keep the students safe.
The police said they drove onto the campus due to a lack of parking outside the front gates, adding that all of its actions were within the campus had been sanctioned by the university.
Despite not seeing any sign of trouble after arriving at the campus, the police made video recordings of the campus surrounds as a part of “standard procedure,” adding that they followed the students to help expedite their journey by controlling traffic lights for them.
Meanwhile, students from Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School told the Chinese-language Apple Daily that military officers at the school had asked students on Thursday for a list of people who had participated in the Sunflower movement.
“It is worrying because we are afraid that the schools or the government might be coming after us now that the movement has ended,” students said.
Jianguo High School student affairs director Tsai Che-ming (蔡哲銘) said that while the school remained neutral on participation in the movement, the schools’ dean might be asked questions about its students at an upcoming city council meeting, which prompted the request for the list of students.
There have been photos of our students in the media, and we need to know if they were part of the movement or we risk not being able to respond to questions at the council meeting, Tsai said.
Additional reporting by Wu Jen-chieh, Chen Wei-tsung and Ho Yu-hua