Tue, Jul 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Opponents of landfill pan DPP for ‘bullying people’

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Opponents of a planned landfill project in Tainan, including Nioupu Borough warden Richard Chen, center, and Tainan Education Union secretary-general Hsu Yu-jen, second right, hold signs outside the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday.

Photo: Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times

Opponents of a planned landfill project in Tainan yesterday gathered outside the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, urging the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) not to use the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) to “bully” people fighting for land justice.

Ocin Environmental Co plans to build the landfill on a plot of land which is easily eroded and holds little water or vegetation in Nioupu Borough (牛埔) in Tainan’s Longci District (龍崎). The site covers 41.19 hectares and would be used to bury 18.7 million tonnes of industrial waste.

While the project was approved by the Environmental Protection Administration in 2003, opponents said it would destroy the natural landscape and pollute the Erren River (二仁溪).

About 100 residents on March 14 petitioned the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau to revoke its approval of the project.

Later that day, they marched to the DPP headquarters in Taipei to petition DPP Legislator Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲), a potential candidate for Tainan’s mayoral election at that time, but were surrounded by hundreds of police because President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was attending a central Standing Committee meeting.

Among the petitioners, Nioupu Borough warden Richard Chen (陳永和) and Tainan Education Union secretary-general Hsu You-jen (許又仁) last month received summons from the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, which yesterday asked them about their alleged contravention of the act.

They originally sat in a park across from the party headquarters, but were guided by police to sit outside the headquarters to avoid sunburn, Chen told a news conference before entering the office.

Most of the rally’s participants were elderly people in their 70s or 80s, who expressed their opinions in a mild manner, but the DPP chose to drive them away with police force, Hsu said.

Hsu has decided to run for Tainan city councilor in the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24 and to continue protesting against the project, He added.

It is ironic that the DPP uses the act to suppress activists protecting their own land when it has vowed to abolish a requirement that people should obtain government approval before holding a rally, Environmental Rights Foundation chief executive Tu Yu-wen (涂又文) said, adding that the DPP has yet to deliver on its promise.

The office questioned the two until about 4pm yesterday, but did not make any announcements, Chen said.

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