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Taiwan premier says assault on parliament 'deliberate'
Publication Date : 25-03-2014
In a press conference held yesterday, Taiwan Premier Jiang Yi-huah said that evidence shows that the storming of the Executive Yuan by students on Sunday night was a deliberate act led by the “Black Island Nation Youth Front”.
Hundreds of activists, mostly college students, stormed the nation's highest administration building around 7:30pm Sunday. The protesters used blankets to scale the barbed-wire barricades and climbed into the Executive Yuan. Activists moved from the Legislative Yuan — which is a block away from the Executive Yuan and has been occupied by protesters since early last week — to join the demonstration.
Over 2,000 protesters were evicted by riot police around 5:30am yesterday under the instruction of the premier. As of 1pm yesterday, a total of 158 people, including police, were injured and sent to hospitals for treatment, according to Taipei City Department of Health.
Jiang said that after storming the Executive Yuan, the activists damaged the door of the main building, while some other protesters climbed into the second floor of the building and hung prepared banners from the windows. He added that these actions — the prepared blankets and banners — suggest that the ambush was a deliberate move.
Cabinet has to be operational 24/7: Premier
The premier further said some may argue that there is no difference between occupying the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan. He stated, however, that the Legislative Yuan belongs to lawmakers — the elected representatives of the people, while the Executive Yuan is the highest administration building of the nation, and the Cabinet has to be operational 24/7 for the country's good.
Jiang further noted the government cannot tolerate the Cabinet being occupied, as there is important, sensitive information and documents stored inside the building. He said, moreover, that some of the demonstrators shouted that they would not let the Cabinet members work on Monday. “We would fail our people if we did nothing to handle the situation,” he added.
66 arrested, one detained
The premier said while his office was not breached by protesters, several Cabinet members' offices were, noting that no documents or computers were taken by protesters. In all, a total of 66 protesters were arrested by police for breaching the buildings and damaging public assets, Jiang said.
Student activist Dennis Wei, who claimed to be the leader of the “occupy the Executive Yuan” movement, was arrested and detained by prosecutors. A detention court was held by the Taipei District Court last night, according to reports.
Photos of the eviction and bloodied protesters were spread around the Internet through official news outlets and social media. Jiang said that it is a distortion of the truth to describe the police's action as similar to the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. The premier said that there might be violent evictions in other countries, but it would not happen in Taiwan as the police are well trained.
Demonstration turned aggressive: Premier
The premier said that before protesters stormed the Cabinet, the demonstration in the Legislative Yuan was rather peaceful, noting that he walked to the Legislature last Saturday, surrounded by protesters but he felt people were organised.
Jiang stated that it hurts him so much that the so-called peaceful demonstration ended up paralysing the country's administration.