Fri, Mar 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Legislative Yuan encircled in barracades as ‘last resort’

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Setting up barricades and barbed wire around the Legislative Yuan in Taipei is a “last resort” to protect lawmakers’ safety, Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said yesterday.

Police set up barricades and barbed wire around the Legislative Yuan compound after a group of pension reform protesters early on Tuesday morning charged into the legislative chamber.

During the protest, retired colonel Miao Te-sheng (繆德生) fell from a ledge of a legislative building and loss consciousness.

As Premier William Lai (賴清德) is scheduled to deliver an administrative report at the legislature today, more police have been deployed to protect the compound.

Asked by reporters to comment on the legislature being heavily barricaded — a move that has drawn criticism from opposition parties, which accuse the government of failing to communicate its policies effectively to the public — Tsai said it was a last resort to ensure lawmakers’ safety.

The move is not uncommon in democratic nations, especially considering that the compound was built a long time ago and has low walls, making it less safe compared with other nations’ parliament buildings, Tsai said.

The government does not want police to excessively crack down on protesters, so the police must rely on tools and personnel to bring more agitated protesters under a certain level of control, he said.

As it is unlikely that the legislature will be relocated anytime soon, all that can be done is to implement safety measures, he said, adding that the reason for setting up the barricades has to do with the building’s history.

Regarding a suspended bill on pension cuts for military retirees, Tsai said he believes that protesters’ opinions have been duly noted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the Executive Yuan.

It is normal for people to have different opinions in a democracy, but they should also be mindful of their health when expressing their opinions, Tsai Chi-chang said, adding that the Legislative Yuan and the Executive Yuan would improve their communication with groups opposed to pension reforms.

Lawmakers would not boycott Lai’s report by disrupting today’s proceedings, as they reached an agreement during cross-caucus negotiations on Monday, he said.

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