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June 28, 2017

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Premier heads to court over March 23 eviction

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday appeared at the Taipei District Court as a defendant against attempted murder charges filed by activists involved in the March 23 attempt to occupy the Executive Yuan.

On the night of March 23, hundreds of activists protesting against the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement stormed the nation's most important administration building around 7:30 p.m. The protesters used blankets to scale the barbed-wire barricades and climbed into the Executive Yuan's grounds.

Over 2,000 protesters were evicted by riot police around 5:30 a.m. on March 24 under the instruction of the premier. According to the Taipei City Department of Health, over 150 people, including police, were injured during the eviction and were sent to the hospital for treatment.

A total of 23 injured activists jointly pressed charges against Premier Jiang, National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞), Taipei Police Commissioner Huang Sheng-yung (黃昇勇) and Zhongzheng First Precinct Chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) over allegations of attempted murder and causing injury.

The Taipei District Court yesterday afternoon summoned the aforementioned four people as defendants to the court to explain their decision-making processes regarding the eviction and the measures used during it.

Activists Support Plaintiffs

Sunflower Student Movement co-leader Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), Academia Sinica researcher Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) and other activists gathered outside of the Taipei District Court yesterday afternoon in support of the plaintiffs.

Over 300 police were stationed with riot shields around the courthouse in an attempt to prevent the activists from getting close to Jiang, according to the Central News Agency.

Before attending the court session, Fang appeared outside of the court and discussed his role as police commander. Fang told local media that as a defendant in this case he will stress the fact that it is his responsibility to command 300 police officers.

Chen said he acknowledges the judge's courage in summoning Jiang to a court session as a defendant. He urged the premier to bear his legal responsibilities like a man. Chen criticized Jiang as the "mastermind of the violence," noting that the premier should step down from his post and face his trial.

Jiang showed up at the court on time, however he did not respond to local reporter's questions and walked into the court silently.

Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) later told reporters that the premier had answered the judge's questions in detail, noting that the Executive Yuan cannot make any further comments as the court is handling the case.

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