Emotions continued to run high at the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall yesterday as protesters and supporters traded angry volleys while work on changing the inscription on the hall's entry arch proceeded. The original four Chinese characters, dazhong zhizheng (
Supporters applauded, while protesters booed and jeered outside a barricade of barbed wires when the final character, zheng (
The installation of the new inscription, "Liberty Square" (
PHOTO: WALLY SANTANA, AP
The Taipei City Government opposes plans to alter the inscription and has claimed jurisdiction over the hall. But the central government argues that decisions made by the Cabinet-level Council of Cultural Affairs trumps any made on a municipal-level regarding the site.
The city government has refused to back down.
"All workers and police officers who assist in destroying the inscription face a minimum of five years' imprisonment for vandalizing a historic site. Stop your work at once. You are being used by your superior," Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), commissioner of the city government's Law and Regulation Committee, said repeatedly through a portable speaker while watching the crane ascend up to the arch.
PHOTO: LU CHUN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES
Lee Yong-ping (
Aside from changing the inscription on the entry arch, the ministry unveiled last night a new plaque bearing the characters minzhu jinianguan (民主紀念館), or Democracy Hall, that is expected be installed on the blue-roofed mausoleum in the next few days, the ministry's secretary-general, Chuang Kuo-jung (莊國榮), said.
The original plaque, which bear the characters "Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall" (
Chuang said if it suited the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), he was willing to personally foot the bill to have another set of the same inscription made and hung up at KMT headquarters or at the home of the its presidential hopeful, Ma Ying-jeou (
The project's chief technician, Tseng Yi-ping (
But Tseng could not confirm when the plaque would be installed because the city government's Department of Labor has refused to issue a permit to certify the safety of the construction site.
Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (
The removal of the inscription yesterday was marked by intermittent clashes, but these were mostly verbal.
More than 600 police officers were dispatched to maintain order.
Supporters called protesters "idiotic leftover garbage of an authoritarian regime" while the protesters screamed at pan-green devotees to "go home and eat themselves."
One pan-green supporter surnamed Chang, 56, a former construction worker, said he was amply geared for a physical altercation if necessary.
"I had a few beers this morning. I am definitely gutsy enough to punch those damn China-lovers in the face," he said.
Meanwhile, pan-blue supporters hollered anti-government slogans and threatened to shoot down the construction workers.
"If you don't get down, you will fall to your death and your house will be burnt to rubble because you are committing a despicable act," a male protester shouted.
Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (
Meanwhile, National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital staff said yesterday that ETTV cameraman Wang Jui-chang (
Wang was run over by a pickup truck on Thursday while filming a dispute between members of the Taiwan Independence Union and the truck driver.
"We found through X-rays and ultrasound that the hemorrhaging [in Wang's body] has actually increased," said I.E. Han (
Han said that Wang has fractures in the pelvis, the clavicle on his right shoulder and his left ankle. Wang may have problems walking and sitting later, Han said.
Government Information Office Minister Shieh Jhy-wey (
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan,
Shelley Shan and CNA
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