Sat, May 06, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Blocking Lin’s car was free expression: protesters

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Student activists’ blocking of Premier Lin Chuan’s (林全) car should be respected as an act of political expression, protesters said yesterday outside the Executive Yuan, criticizing the government’s threats to press charges.

“The government should consider the reason people took to the streets,” Judicial Reform Foundation researcher Ho Yu-lun (何友倫) said.

Ho cited the verdict acquitting Sunflower movement member Dennis Wei (魏揚) and others of charges of coercion and obstruction of public traffic and communication for blocking China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun’s (張志軍) car in 2014 on a road in New Taipei City’s Wulai (烏來).

A guilty verdict against Wei was overturned in a second trial in February on the grounds that public interest had motivated their actions and only minimal effect on traffic had resulted.

Student protesters and residents of Daguan (大觀) community in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) briefly blocked Lin’s car as it emerged from his home on Thursday morning in an effort to force a response to demands that the Veterans Affairs Council halt planned demolition of the community.

“Going to Lin’s home was a last resort to make him face the issue,” student Cheng Chung-hao (鄭仲皓) said.

While acknowledging that the community is on government-owned land, protesters said that the planned demolition is unjust and the homes were constructed legally with the help of the National Women’s League in conjunction with the construction of a nearby military dependents’ village.

Protesters also criticized Executive Yuan statements that the case had already passed review by the Presidential Office’s Human Rights Consultative Committee.

Daguan Self-Help Association member Huang Ping-hsun (黃炳勛) panned the account as “one-sided.”

Taiwan Association of Human Rights member Wang Hsi (王曦) showed minutes from the committee’s meeting on the case on April 20, which said that priority should be placed on finding a settlement that avoids displacing residents.

The resolution also called for demolition to be put on hold because the government has no urgent need for the underlying land.

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