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June 24, 2017

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DPP criticizes gov't handling of protesters

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday during an interpellation session at one of the Legislative Yuan's buildings lashed out at the National Police Agency (NPA), the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and the Cabinet over the reportedly violent eviction by riot police of over 2,000 student protesters from the Executive Yuan compound on Monday morning.

According to the NPA and the MOI, 115 police officers and 55 demonstrators were injured during the eviction.

DPP lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) convened a cross-committee meeting yesterday, requesting that Cabinet Secretary-General Lee Shih-chuan (李四川), NPA Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) attend the interpellation and explain the March 24 eviction. All Kuomintang members of the committees were absent.

Use of Expandable Steel Baton

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) held an international press conference on Monday, saying that the depiction by certain media outlets of the eviction as a "bloody crackdown" was a distortion of the truth. Jiang said the police first gently persuaded the student activists to leave the nation's highest administration complex, then lifted the protesters or tapped their shoulders asking them to get up from the ground.

Before stepping into the meeting room yesterday, Chen told local press that the forcible evacuation was conducted under the prerequisite that no protesters be harmed.

During the interpellation session, DPP lawmaker Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) held an extendable police baton in his hand, asking Wang if the riot police attacked students with the steel baton.

Wang responded that he is not sure, but it was possible.

Tuan demanded Chen, Wang and Lee stand in front of a flat-screen TV in the meeting room, showing a photo of a police officer holding an extendable baton made of steel in his hand and a video clip of a protester being hit by a baton made of another material.

Tuan struck the table with the steel baton heavily several times while questioning the three government officials. Tuan asked "is it what Jiang said to gently persuade or tap the shoulder of the student activists?" The three did not answer his question.

Tuan demanded Premier Jiang apologize over the eviction and asked the NPA to submit a list of police for punishments.

During the meeting, members of the opposition questioned why the National Security Bureau (NSB) failed to anticipate the storming of the Executive Yuan by the protesters. While the NSB did not respond directly to the question, an official of the NSB pointed out during the interpellation that the NSB absolutely did not wiretap student activists or collect intelligence on them.

DPP Lawmaker Lashes Out at Officials

Before the interpellation started, DPP Legislator Chen Tan-sun (陳唐山) walked up to MOI Minister Chen Wei-zen, Wang and Lee, and said that he was recently denied entry to the Legislature by police, and that he was forced to scale the wall in order to get in.

"What have the police been doing? What have you been doing as minister?" the lawmaker asked.

"The public can discern right from wrong," the minister said, to which the legislator replied, "You can eat shit."

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