Wed, Mar 25, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Sunflower activists demand answers

SEEKING JUSTICE:Among the demands, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Chou Ni-an asked why video footage could not single out any police officers acting violently

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Demonstrators in Taipei on Monday adorn barbed-wire barriers with paper sheets bearing red handprints, to mark one year since protesters were forcefully evicted from the Executive Yuan.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Leading Sunflower movement figures and opposition legislators yesterday voiced their anger over the police crackdown during the occupation of the Executive Yuan in Taipei on the night of March 23 to the early hours of March 24 last year, saying that many of the victims seeking justice have been left out in the cold.

At the Legislative Yuan’s plenary session yesterday, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安) questioned Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) over the matter, accusing the government of turning a deaf ear to victims’ demands for justice to be served.

Chou, who sustained injuries during the incident on March 24 last year, said she was there to protect the students and experienced brutal treatment by the police.

“After I was knocked to the ground, four riot police used their shields and boots to kick and hit me repeatedly,” she said.

“We know that videos from police cameras can be used to identify students and protesters, as the government was able to indict them,” Chou said. “Why can the same footage not single out any police officers who beat people so viciously?”

Chou called on the government to come clean on that night’s crackdown and “end the cover-up,” accusing authorities of destroying evidence to prevent the prosecution of police officers.

The occupation of the Executive Yuan, led by student Dennis Wei (魏揚) and others, was a spinoff of the Sunflower movement that occupied the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber from March 18 to April 10 to protest the government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade agreement.

On Monday evening, dozens of students and activists took part in a silent procession around the Executive Yuan compound to mark the one-year anniversary of the bloody police crackdown. Led by youth activist group Black Island National Youth Front, the crowd hung handkerchiefs with bloody hand prints on the barbed-wire barricades.

Wei, a member of the group, said the images of riot police carrying batons and marching in locked steps toward the sit-in crowd often came back to haunt him.

“I will never forget what happened that night, especially not my friends bleeding from being beaten by police as they held me and cried out in pain,” said Wei, who is one of 119 Sunflower movement protesters who have been indicted.

“Over the past year, neither former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) nor former National Police Agency director-general Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) have apologized for their roles in these acts of violence against the public,” he said.

He added that as the public commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Executive Yuan occupation, “we must point out these two as the main perpetrators of the violence and not, as government officials are doing now, blaming the protesters for their ‘irresponsible’ actions.”

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