Activists yesterday lashed out at Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) at the legislature in Taipei over the county government’s rejection of an application for a rally in front of the county government’s offices on Friday, adding that the event would be held in front of police barricades as planned.
“Liu Cheng-hung, what are you afraid of? Who grants you the power to void the people’s right to assembly?” Youth Alliance for Miaoli spokesman Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) said during a press conference.
“The reasons the county authorities gave for the rejection were mere excuses. Therefore we will begin our evening rally at 6pm as planned, even though that means we have to set up our stage in front of police barricades or a human wall of police,” Chen said.
Fu Wei-che (傅偉哲), another member of the alliance, said the Miaoli City Government had rejected their application to hold an assembly in the square in front of the county government’s offices based on the claim that the rally could disturb county employees at work and block the flow of traffic going in and out of county hall or around the county government — even though the rally is to start after office hours.
“A few days after we received the reply from the city government, we received a separate reply from police about our assembly application. The police will only allow us to march from 2pm to 5pm, and are prohibiting us from making a stop in front of the county government’s offices,” Fu said.
“The Miaoli County Government is using the Assembly and Parade Act [集會遊行法] as a tool to repress people’s freedom of expression. It is not going to work, because where there is oppression, there is resistance,” he said.
Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Tsai Chi-hsun (蔡季勳) said the constitutional legality of the Assembly and Parade Act is in doubt because a judge hearing a case in which a defendant has been charged with violating the law has applied for a constitutional interpretation and the Council of Grand Justices has yet to deliver one.
Therefore, “the government and the courts should refrain from using this law while the grand justices are deciding whether it is constitutional,” she said.