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Dapu protesters toss eggs over demolitions

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Around 1,000 protesters bombarded the Miaoli County Government Building with eggs, paintballs and ghost money to vent their anger over the forcible demolition of four private houses in Dapu Village and some undesirable development projects launched by the county government, before winding up a “Guard Miaoli Concert” on Friday night.

The protesters, including members of self-relief associations opposing a spate of development projects in different townships of the northern county, as well as young people against Dapu house razing, gathered in front of the county government building, where the concert, organized by a group, dubbed “Defend Miaoli Youth Alliance,” began at 6 p.m.

Besides featuring performances by some Hakkanese singers, the concert virtually became an “anger-venting” stage for protesters.

Representatives of the self-relief associations opposing the construction of a funeral and interment park in Houlong Township, the installation of wind turbines in Yuanli Township, the development of an industrial complex in Chunan Township and the demolition of private houses in Dapu took turns blasting Miaoli County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung for forcible demolition and requisition of private houses and land lots and for recklessly carrying out controversial development projects.

During the concert, the protesters shouted out five major requests: an apology and compensation from Magistrate Liu, the return of land lots to owners of four demolished houses in Dapu, a probe into the alleged corruption of Liu, amendments to the government's land acquisition policy, and the suspension of land acquisitions.

The protesters also burned a paper coffin bearing Liu's portrait, indicating that all the undesirable development projects and Liu would be sent away to allow a metamorphosis of politics in Miaoli County.

They wound up the concert at 10 p.m. by throwing eggs, paintballs and spirit money at the county government headquarters, with some reporters and policemen hit by eggs.

Among those targeted were Chang Shih-hsiung, chief of a Miaoli police precinct, whose right eye was stuck with an egg. Chang was rushed to Taichung Veterans General Hospital for medical treatment at midnight on Friday.

The protesters said they would gather again on Sunday, Aug. 18 on Ketagalan Boulevard for a demonstration dubbed: “818: Take Back the State. Demolish the Government.” The main appeal for the Sunday rally is the same as raised during the concert rally.

The Taiwan Rural Front, which is involved in the demonstration, has proclaimed that the gathering is the agglomeration of various groupings, including farmers organizations and members of the arts and culture sectors, which aims to launch a calm civic action.

Organizers of the demonstration have encouraged people who have grievances against the government to take to the streets, as the rally is an opportunity for citizens' voices to be heard.

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The square in front of the Miaoli County Government Building is filled with broken eggs and ghost money cast by some 1,000 protesters at the end of “Guard Miali Concert” on Friday night, organized to vent anger over the county government's demolition of four private houses in Dapu Village. (CNA)

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