Fri, May 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Demolition protesters block premier’s car

By Abraham Gerber and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporters

Protesters clash with police on Jinan Road in Taipei yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Daguan Self-help Group

Protesters blocked Premier Lin Chuan’s (林全) car and allegedly threw road cones at it at his home in Taipei yesterday as they sought to halt a planned demolition of homes in New Taipei City.

About 12 students affiliated with the Taiwan Anti-Forced Eviction Alliance struggled with police as they blocked the car as it emerged from his residence, throwing themselves onto the hood before being dragged off by police.

The protesters called for Lin to “face the music.”

The group supports residents of the Daguan (大觀) community in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), with the community facing demolition ordered by a nearby military retirees’ home that owns the land.

The protesters say the site was constructed by military personnel and their families in conjunction with the National Women’s League to service a “military dependents’ village” that predates the retirement home.

Large numbers of military personnel and their families settled in the dependents’ village, which was built on government-owned land, after they followed the Republic of China government to Taiwan following the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) defeat in the Chinese Civil War.

“Lin Chuan himself was born in a military dependents’ village. How can he not feel empathy for Daguan residents?” group member Cheng Chung-hao (鄭仲皓) said, adding that the Executive Yuan was the “bloody hand” behind the “activation” policies on government-owned land responsible for numerous demolitions and forced evictions.

Group member Chen Kuan-po (陳冠博) said they took the protest to Lin’s home only after the Executive Yuan showed a lack of “sincerity” in addressing a series of protests and petitions.

“Every time we give them an official petition, they just confirm reception and state that it will be forwarded to the Veterans Affairs Council, a completely meaningless action,” Chen said.

After Lin’s car departed, the protesters marched to the Executive Yuan, posting “wanted posters” of Lin on its gates.

“We are here on a search,” Cheng said, vowing that protests would follow Lin “like a shadow” until the group gets a response.

“We hope that when you [Lin] go to work, you will see these and know that Daguan residents are looking for you,” he said.

The Executive Yuan condemned the attempts to block the premier’s vehicle and urged the police to press charges against people who compromise public safety.

Protesters blocked traffic and hurled traffic cones at Lin’s car when his motorcade departed from Lin’s home in Daan District (大安), Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

The land that Daguan community is built on is owned by the government and occupation of the land is illegal, Hsu said.

The government pressed charges against some of the residents — those who occupied more than one housing unit, ran businesses from occupied properties or sublet their units — in 1994, and the legal proceedings were concluded in 2014 with courts ruling that residents had to demolish the homes and return the properties and illegal gains.

Among the 79 households in the community, 21 have moved out and returned the property to the government.

A demolition on April 10 removed only the empty properties, but the contractor accidentally damaged electrical facilities serving some occupied units, Hsu said, adding that the power supply was restored.

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