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September 24, 2017

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Wang backed removal of protesters: premier

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday that Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) agreed to have police enter the Legislature's main chamber in response to the March 18 student activist occupation.

During an interpellation session, Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Chiau Wen-yan (邱文彥) requested that the premier reveal the facts regarding the Executive Yuan's coordination with the Legislative Yuan.

In response, Jiang said that he received notice at around 9 p.m. that night and that he later received a call from Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁).

Chen asked Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Hsi-shan (林錫山) to confirm whether or not the Legislature agreed to have police enter the Assembly Hall in order to remove the activists, Jiang said.

Lin confirmed that the Legislature wanted to remove the activists as soon as possible and requested the National Police Agency's assistance, Jiang explained.

The premier said that he called Wang at approximately 11 p.m. and asked the speaker whether or not he supported the decision made by the Ministry of the Interior, the National Police Agency and the Legislature's security personnel, namely the decision to have police remove the activists.

According to the premier, the speaker agreed that a swift solution had to be found and that he also agreed to the abovementioned decision.

On the following day, opposition lawmakers prevented police from entering the main chamber and the police were subsequently unable to remove the activists, Jiang said.

Yesterday, Wang told reporters that under the circumstances, he had to support the decision to remove the activists.

However, when all failed, it became an obligation to protect the student activists, the speaker said.

That night the first priority was to ensure lawmakers' safety while the second priority was to ensure the safety of the student activists, Wang said.

With regard to how the Legislative Yuan uses police force, the Executive Yuan completely respects parliamentary autonomy, the premier said, adding that if the Legislative Yuan wanted a forceful eviction, the Executive Yuan would have taken that approach.

If the Legislative Yuan requested an alternative, the Executive Yuan would definitely have complied, the premier said.

This is why there was a difference in the ways the Legislative Yuan occupation and Executive Yuan occupation were dealt with, Jiang said.

Executive Yuan Occupation

In response to the March 23 incident in which student activists stormed the Executive Yuan complex, the premier said that he, the interior minister, NPA Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lee Shih-chuan (李四川) came to a swift decision to evict the intruders.

Fortunately the eviction was successful, Jiang said, adding that otherwise, it would have turned into an instance of "mob control over the nation's administrative center."

Members of the international community would have thought that a coup d'etat had occurred, the premier said.

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