Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Protesters allege police mistreatment

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Several pro-independence organizations gathered late on Sunday night to protest alleged violent treatment of their members by Xinyi District (信義) police officers during a confrontation outside Taipei 101 earlier in the day.

The alleged mistreatment occurred as activists from the Taiwanese National Party (TNP, 台灣民族黨) and Taiwan Independence Volunteer Team (TIVT, 台建行動志工隊) were making their way to the plaza in front of Taipei 101 on Sunday afternoon, during one of their regular weekend marches in Taipei. Some activists were carrying flags with slogans advocating Taiwanese independence and civil rights, with some members on foot and others on tricycles.

However, units from the Xinyi Police Station reportedly blocked the groups at the periphery of the Taipei 101 plaza, saying they did not have a permit for the march, and also that the tricycles some were riding were unlicensed vehicles.

A confrontation ensued and some tussling took place, as officers began to hand out fines for traffic violations and demand members show identity cards.

TNP member Lin Hsin-kai (林新凱) shouted “The police are violating civil rights” during the confrontation, before being overpowered by police, handcuffed and taken to the nearby Xinyi Police Station.

Other TNP and TIVT members were also detained and given fines, and officers at the time said they planned to charge Lin for verbal abuse of law-enforcement officers.

As they felt they had been unjustly harassed and illegally detained by police, the activists held a rally outside the Xinyi Police Station, at which they demanded the release of Lin, who reportedly sustained minor injuries as police officers wrestled him to the ground.

Joining TNP and TIVT members at the rally were members from the Taiwan Organization for National Declaration (台灣國籍宣示會), and the National Building Forum (建國廣場).

Xinyi District Police Chief Wu Ching-tien (吳敬田) later released Lin after holding talks with TNP chairman Tsua Gim-liong (蔡金龍), and city councilors who arrived to help settle the dispute between the police and the protesters gathered outside.

During a media interview, Tsua said: “The police not only used excessive force to arrest our members, but it was selective persecution against us. We see these other groups waving People’s Republic of China flags near Taipei 101, but the police seldom detain or arrest them. The police deliberately target pro-independence groups.”

“We have the right to hold protests and to express our views. We also have the right to refuse police requests to give our names, but they still wanted to make arrests. It goes against the freedom, and human rights guaranteed in the Constitution; that was why our members tried to resist arrest,” Tsua added. “The police actions were based on training and attitudes they received when the nation was under martial law.”

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