Tue, Sep 26, 2017 - Page 3 News List

MND restricts protests around complex

‘UNIQUE REQUIREMENTS’:The ministry has banned all gatherings around the Boai Military Base, citing the need to enhance security, and protect public safety and peace

By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

In response to protests that, according to a high-ranking official, disrupted the Ministry of National Defense’s (MND) ability to manage the nation’s armed forces, the ministry has designated a security zone around its Taipei compound, banning rallies and parades within the area, the official said yesterday.

Since the ministry relocated to Taipei’s Dazhi District (大直), it has been the site of many protests by opponents of pension reform.

The restrictions covering the Boai Military Base (博愛營區) and the roads around it came into effect on Tuesday last week, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The measure is authorized by the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法), the official added.

The Boai Military Base is bordered by lanes 31 and 145, Tongbei Street (通北街), to the north, Chongshi Road (崇實路) to the east, Beinan Road (北安路) to the south and Tongbei Street (通北街) to the west. The sidewalks are included in the security zone.

“In response to the unique requirements for an area under military usage, the need to enhance the Boai Military Base’s security perimeter and protect public safety and quiet in the formerly open area, a restricted zone has been demarcated under the authority of the regulations. Aerial drones with cameras and high-altitude balloons are also forbidden above the restricted zone,” the ministry said in a statement.

The act was last amended in June 2002, requiring groups to obtain government approval prior to demonstrations.

Violators can be fined from NT$30,000 to NT$150,000 and sentenced to up to two years in prison.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has repeatedly attempted to amend the act and the Executive Yuan last year proposed a draft amendment.

After negotiations between party caucuses, the Legislative Yuan introduced further changes to the bill, which have yet to be voted on in the legislature.

Proposed changes include renaming the law to “the act protecting the rights of parade and assembly,” abolishing the government’s authority to withhold approval for assemblies and abolishing all penalties for unauthorized public assemblies.

The proposal would reduce the security perimeter around the Presidential Office Building, international airports and military facilities from 300m to 100m, while reducing the security perimeter around the president’s and vice president’s residences from 100m to 50m.

The Executive Yuan, the Examination Yuan, courthouses and embassies would have their security perimeter reduced to 30m, while all hospitals would be given a 30m security perimeter, according to the proposal.

The proposed amendment also redefines the authority to disperse unauthorized assemblies as “compulsory removal.”

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