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July 23, 2017

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Cabinet denies accusation of 'bloody eviction'

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Executive Yuan held a press conference last night in which it stressed that several media outlets and political parties have falsely depicted the eviction of student protesters from the Executive Yuan compound on Monday as a "bloody crackdown."

In a cross-committee interpellation session held yesterday by the Legislative Yuan and convened by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), all DPP lawmakers criticized the police for the violent eviction of the student activists and demanded that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) hold himself accountable.

None of the Kuomintang (KMT) members of the committee attended.

In light of this, the Executive Yuan last night held a press conference in an attempt to defend the actions of the police.

Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that over the past two days, several media outlets and political parties deliberately released untrue speculation and reports to the public, stigmatizing the defense of the Cabinet compound by police.

Sun noted that since the protesters, who were against the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, stormed the Executive Yuan last Sunday night, 36 people have been transferred to the District Prosecutors' Office for further investigation.

The spokesman went on to say that among the 36 people, 11 are college students, three are high school pupils, three are suspended college students, and one is a junior high school dropout. The rest of the 18 people are civilians, not students, he added.

Sun said that while many people have stressed the student activists were just peacefully sitting in front of the Cabinet's main building in protest of the government, there are photographs and videos showing the opposite situation.

Sun addressed rumors circulating that police officers attacked the sit-in student activists during the forced evacuation, saying that accusations that treatment of the students was in any way violent are not fair, he stressed.

Regarding the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), who joined the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) in condemning the restraints on the media's reporting of the eviction, Sun said that on Sunday night before the eviction started he notified all reporters in the press room to leave the area for their own safety.

Sun said he also ordered the police to make an announcement by loudspeaker before the eviction, and the police acted in accordance.

Sun also denied speculation that National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) would resign, saying that Premier Jiang fully supported Wang over the eviction.

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