Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NPP files complaint against police attempt to end strike

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Hsu Yung-ming speaks during a protest outside the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday as the party continues its sit-in protest and hunger strike. The NPP has asked lawyers to fight an order for it to remove the tents protesters have erected on the sidewalk.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

New Power Party (NPP) members yesterday filed a legal complaint against Taipei City police for the use of force in dismantling NPP lawmakers’ temporary rain shelter in front of the Presidential Office Building, while they continued their hunger strike against proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).

NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) and Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) signed an authorization form to commission a team of lawyers who went to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office and filed the legal complaint.

Huang and Hsu said the police early yesterday morning applied force when taking down their temporary rain shelter, which led to a scuffle.

Doing so had breached provisions of the Criminal Code (刑法) they said, adding that by erecting wired barricades to restrict traffic and pedestrians, police had violated the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法).

Attorney Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智), who is heading the NPP’s legal team, said Taipei police had abused their power by extending the area of the street barricades and should be charged with damaging personal property when they forcefully dismantled the rain shelter.

NPP legislators also criticized the authorities for sending an excessive number of officers and redundant security measures, saying only about 30 people protested through the night, but there were several hundred police on guard in the area.

Such security measures were necessary because NPP members had continually used social networks to broadcast the protest live and to call on supporters to join the protest, Taipei Police Department Zhongzheng District First Precinct Chief Liao Tsai-chen (廖材楨) said.

“The five NPP legislators have been engaging in an illegal assembly in front of the Presidential Office Building, which is a restricted area, due to national security considerations,” Liao said.

“We acted legally in accordance with the Assembly and Parade Act, first serving notice with a warning placard ordering the protesters to terminate their action and to disperse,” he added.

Liao said that NPP members setting up the rain shelter on the street and other protest activities had blocked traffic and were in violation of the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例).

“Therefore we requested that they remove it on their own, but since they did not obey the notice, police officers had to move in to dismantle it,” he said.

Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華), of the Democratic Progressive Party, said that 380 police officers had been deployed in connection to the NPP’s hunger strike over the past few days.

“This has overextended the Taipei police, diverting them from their regular duties of maintaining social order and public safety, regulating road traffic and other security tasks,” she said.

“The police had to keep watch over the protest in rainy and cold conditions. This has placed much strain on government resources, and the police officers are tired,” Hsu said. “Therefore, I really cannot agree with this protest action [by NPP legislators].”

Some police officers also voiced complaints in response to Huang’s statements that the authorities had treated the protesters harshly.

“We ask the public to not just look at the legislators, but the police who have to keep watch during the protest,” one policeman told reporters yesterday.

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