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June 29, 2017

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DPP's Hsieh supports the police eviction of activists from the Executive Yuan

TAIPEI -- Former Premier Frank Hsieh said yesterday the police were right to expel protesters from the Executive Yuan compound on March 24 but did not need to use water cannons on those who were outside the complex.

Answering questions at a legislative committee hearing, Hsieh, of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said the police should have used less violent means to disperse the student-led demonstrators outside the complex, who were staging a peaceful sit-in against the government's handling of a controversial trade pact with China.

Hsieh was invited to attend a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Internal Affairs Committee for the first time as a civilian and showed video footage of the police dispersal of the protesters at the Cabinet compound on March 24.

Asked to differentiate between public authority and state violence, Hsieh said the performance of police duties in accordance with the law can be defined as public authority, while the execution of such duties in violation of the law amounts to state violence.

In response to a question on what he would have done in the situation if he were still premier, Hsieh did not give a direct answer, but instead said that he was not opposed to the police's eviction of the demonstrators who had breached the Cabinet compound.

He said, however, that he was among the protesters who were sitting with arms linked in the square in front of the Cabinet complex when the police turned water cannons on them.

The former premier said his eyeglasses were knocked off by the water cannons and the force of the water jets on the back of his head left him dizzy.

The demonstrators who stormed the Cabinet complex were part of a student movement that has been occupying the Legislature's main chamber since March 18 in protest against a trade in-services agreement with China. They ended the protest action Thursday evening.

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