Social networking sites were yesterday inundated with several high-profile celebrities’ indignant comments over the government’s overnight forcible eviction of students occupying the Executive Yuan, which led to violent clashes and bloodshed and to the labeling of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) as “dictators.”
Hours after hundreds of students climbed over the barriers at the main entrances of the Executive Yuan compound and occupied the nation’s highest administrative body on Sunday night, Jiang ordered the National Police Agency to empty the building by yesterday morning.
Riot police launched five waves of eviction attempts between 1 am and 5am yesterday, resorting to brutal force and even water cannon. About 110 people were injured during the process.
“Ma and Jiang have responded to students’ occupation of the legislature with ... foul indifference. They pretend they are listening to what people have to say and respond politely, but they keep going their own way anyway... This is indifferent dictatorship,” Taiwanese filmmaker Yang Ya-che (楊雅?) wrote on Facebook yesterday.
“They have no problem talking with China, but when it comes to protesters, they would rather have police beat them down with batons than sit down with them... It has become clear what they will go down in history for: their autocracy,” Yang said.
Famed Taiwanese director Lin Cheng-sheng (林正盛) also took to Facebook to express his anger, saying: “While the bloodthirsty government’s order to beat up young students has deeply saddened me, it has also taught me to stand up against this bloodsucker with a stronger and softer willpower.”
Theater director Ko I-chen (柯一正) praised the courage shown by students who launched a sit-in inside the Legislative Yuan yesterday despite the government’s forcible eviction of protesters.
“Our nation’s leader has become too despicable for people to tolerate. Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) said they [students protesting inside the legislature] will never retreat!” Ko wrote on Facebook.
Lin is one of the protest leaders.
Taiwanese author and director Giddens Ko (柯景騰), also known as Jiu Ba Dao (九把刀), criticized the government’s use of violence against unarmed students.
“Before what happened last night, I used to believe that we could tolerate different opinions... Perhaps we will never be able to agree on anything in a civil society, but I have only one clear and simple stance now, that all of us should stand together against government-led violence,” Giddens Ko said.
Giddens Ko said the students’ occupation of the Executive Yuan was not a disgrace to democracy, adding that the real shame was that people who were capable of changing the nation’s destiny refused to come forward at a time of national crisis.
Taiwanese director Chen Yu-hsun (陳玉勳) dismissed some netizens’ characterization of the attempted occupation of the Executive Yuan as a “foolhardy operation,” saying that would be tantamount to “blaming victims for being raped.”
“I never knew how autocratic regimes were created when I was little, but I do now,” Chen said.
Indie singer-songwriter Deserts Chang (張懸) said what was happening in Taiwan today was inevitable for any nation whose governmental systems and operations required a fundamental overhaul.
“Even though there are major repercussions, even though we can only painfully and slowly change the government’s ‘ugly face,’ this is the price people who call this island home are willing to pay,” Chang said.
A number of celebrities including Chang, Chen, Giddens Ko, filmmaker Umin Boya (馬志翔) and actress Gin Oy (歐陽靖) also changed their Facebook profile pictures to black yesterday to mourn for the wounded students and the nation’s blemished democracy.
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