Huaguang protesters clash with police

By Anna Chang, Special to The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Hundreds of protesters demonstrating against the demolition of the Huaguang (華光) community in Taipei clashed with the police yesterday outside the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). Huaguang residents and their supporters marched past the Cabinet and down Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office to express their dissatisfaction with the government. Shortly after noon the protesters occupied the entrance of the MOJ. When police moved in to try and clear the area, some protesters laid down on the ground in a show of resistance. Before the protest march began, students set up a commemorative shrine on the corner of the community at an intersection behind Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and held three minutes of silence to commemorate what they said was the death of the residents’ rights. The controversy over the Huaguang community centers around the MOJ-sanctioned nationwide urban renewal project to utilize government lands. As a result, the legal and illegal residents were ordered to voluntarily, or involuntarily, relocate. One Huaguang resident, surnamed Lin, said that the Huaguang community is her home. She accused the MOJ of violating the constitution and the residents’ human rights to achieve its land acquisition objectives.

Although the MOJ’s demolition action is supported by the courts, protesters said it is unfair for the government to go against the wishes of its own people.