Hundreds of protesters yesterday evening ended their 20-hour “occupation” of a government building in Taipei to protest against a land seizure in Miaoli County and land expropriation across the country, but vowed more occupation campaigns if the government failed to listen to their demands.
“As the protest draws to a close now, it is, at the same time, only a beginning. [The protest] serves as a warning to all government agencies, which betrayed their responsibility to the people, that they should be ready for people’s occupation at all times,” said Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧), spokesperson for the Taiwan Rural Front, the protest’s main organizer.
While the Ministry of the Interior’s (MOI) response to the protesters’ four demands was unacceptable, Tsai said a prolonged occupation would “fall into the government’s trap” because President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration was trying to wear the protesters out.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The protesters chose to paralyze the operation of the ministry because it was in charge of land management affairs.
They demanded the MOI to apologize, compensate and return the lands to the four households in Dapu Borough (大埔) in Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南), whose houses were demolished on July 18, despite the government’s pledge to preserve them. They also asked the government to probe potential corruption cases related to land seizures and immediately amend the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例).
Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) tried to break the deadlock with a meeting with the protesters at 11am yesterday, but failed to make substantial promises as he was whisked off by the crowds, who demanded to meet with Minister of the Interior Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源).
Lee did not come out to meet with them, but organizers decided to call off the sit-in anyway, with Tsai saying the campaign was a relative success “because no one has ever besieged a government building and paralyzed a ministry before.”
The sit-in, part of the protest titled “818 Tear down the government,” was a follow-up to a night rally on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building on Sunday evening. The rally, which organizers said drew about 20,000 participants, was held to commemorate the one-month anniversary of the demolition of the four houses, torn down to make way for a science park project.
The peaceful rally ended at about 10pm on Sunday, before the protesters caught the police by surprise as hundreds of demonstrators, who initially said they would stage an overnight sit-in in front of the Executive Yuan, executed a successful “ambush,” turning to the nearby Joint Central Government Building (JCGB) complex that also houses some of the legislative rooms.
After a brief confrontation with a thin police line, the crowds entered the complex and occupied both entrances of the South Tower of the JCGB, where they began the overnight sit-in without interruption from the police deployed in and around the building.
The protesters, consisting mostly of young people, raised a protest flag to replace the national flag in front of the building and sprayed slogans on the building walls and the pavement.
The police sent reinforcements yesterday morning, setting up blockades around the South Tower and monitoring pedestrians. Public servants were able to enter the North Tower and reach South Tower through an underground passage.
Supporters who could not make it to the sit-in tried to give the participants a lift by sending water, instant noodles and pizzas to the site.
Commenting on the protest, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) criticized the demonstrators for removing a national flag and replacing it with a protest banner, calling the move “disrespectful, not just to the national flag, but also to the Legislative Yuan.”
The legislature respects the protest and appreciates their demands, but people should still respect the system and authority,” he said.
“What can they change by replacing a flag?” he added.
Additional reporting by CNA
A Taiwanese YouTuber suspected of creating and selling deepfake porn videos featuring more than 100 politicians and influencers was on Monday released on bail after being arrested the previous day. Chu Yu-chen (朱玉宸), 26, who uses the name Xiaoyu (小玉) on YouTube, was arrested on Sunday in New Taipei City, along with two suspected accomplices, a 24-year-old YouTuber surnamed Yeh (耶), known as Shaiw Shaiw (笑笑), and a 22-year-old man Chuang (莊). The three suspects were on Monday escorted to the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning on suspicion of distributing obscene videos and publicly insulting others, in contravention of
ANTI-COERCION: EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said the EU wishes to bolster relations with Taiwan within the framework of its ‘one China’ policy The EU is to further its engagement with Taiwan to defend democracy, freedom and an open market, while bolstering cooperation in semiconductor supply chains, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday. In her remarks at a European Parliament plenary session focused on Taiwan-EU relations, Vestager referred to China’s increasing military presence in the Taiwan Strait, including flying missions off the southwest coast of Taiwan. “This display of force may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity,” she said, adding that the EU encourages all parties to avoid any unilateral actions that might increase tensions across the Strait. “We Europeans
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) yesterday debuted three electric vehicle (EV) prototypes to great fanfare at its Tech Day event at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center. The prototypes of sports utility vehicle Model C, luxury sedan Model E and electric bus Model T were developed by Foxtron Vehicles Technologies Co (鴻華先進), a joint venture between Hon Hai and Yulon Motor Co (裕隆汽車). The Model C and Model E are to be initially sold under the Yulon-affiliated Luxgen Motor Co (納智捷汽車) and China Motor Corp (中華汽車) brands when they hit the market, Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) said. The company expects
MILITARY RESOLVE: Washington does not want a cold war with Beijing, it just wants ‘China to understand that we’re not going to step back,’ Biden told a CNN town hall The US would come to Taiwan’s defense and has a commitment to defend the nation China claims as its own, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday, although the White House later said there was no change in policy toward Taiwan. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting when asked if the US would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has been facing mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty. While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long