Police failing to protect Dapu protesters, activists say

SELECTIVE::Activists say the police have done little about attacks and threats against them, while putting a singer on a watch list for performing during a rally

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - Page 3

Miaoli activists and lawmakers yesterday panned the police for being slow to investigate attacks on anti-demolition protesters in Dapu Borough (大埔) in the county’s Jhunan Township (竹南), while acting promptly to charge protesters with any violations.

“Soon after the rally [against the demolitions] on Aug. 16, many members from the Youth Alliance for Miaoli — including myself and Chen Wei-ting [陳為廷] — received threats that local gangsters may be out to hurt us, while a coffee shop run by another protester, Lin Yi-fang [林一方], where the alliance often gathers was attacked twice,” alliance member Fu Wei-che (傅偉哲) told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

“The police have yet to find out who is behind the attacks and threats, but they have already sent us notices requesting that we submit to questioning over suspected violations of the Assembly and Parade Act [集會遊行法] and other laws,” Fu said.

Chen also questioned what the police are doing to investigate the attacks.

“The police is putting a lot of effort toward protecting the county commissioner, political leaders and government offices, but should not they protect the protesters as well?” Chen asked.

Lala Lin (林羿含), the lead singer of the band Eye of Violence, said that she was put on a “watch list” by the police after performing at the Aug. 16 rally.

“A police officer showed up at my house in Greater Tainan when I wasn’t home, checked my father’s ID and told him: ‘Your daughter is on our list now,’ saying that it was an order ‘from above,’” Lin said. “Why am I on ‘the list’? Just because I took part in a rally? Does this make me a criminal who threatens pubic security?”

While National Police Agency Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-tung (林國棟) denied that Lin was on a police watch list and said the incident could have been a “misunderstanding,” Miaoli County Police Department Chief Secretary Kao Chih-liang (高誌良) said he would look into the incident and would have an answer ready within a week.

Kao also promised to probe the threats that the protesters received.