By Chi-hao James Lo ,The China Post
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) visited the Taipei City Zhongzheng First Precinct yesterday, encouraging officers who defended the station from protesters on April 11 as well as giving his support to the chief of the precinct. As the police station in charge of the area where most of the central government buildings are located, the Zhongzheng First Precinct, along with the Special Police Sixth Headquarters, have been the core of dispatched authorities throughout the 23 days of the Sunflower Movement. Following the student activists’ official departure from the premises on April 10, members of the Referendum Alliance (公投護台灣聯盟) opted to stay at the square in front of the Legislature to continue their protest. The members were dispersed by police officers from the precinct at 7 a.m. on April 11, during which alliance leader Tsai Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) was accidentally injured.
The action met with heavy criticism from supporters of the alliance, who began an online campaign and surrounded the precinct with around 1,000 people in the afternoon of the same day. Protesters also called for precinct chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) to apologize and resign while throwing eggs, water and joss paper at stationed officers.
Fang appealed to protesters later in the evening and stated that he would resign in hopes of calming down the angry crowd. During his visit to the precinct following the incident yesterday, Hau gave his support to the entire station. In a press event after his visit, Hau stated that he personally recognizes the efforts of the entire precinct and Fang himself, and that as far as he’s aware, the entire station conducted their duties properly and without wrongdoing. Throughout the occupation, said Hau, Fang has held his ground amid criticism for the nation to see, and unless any violations come to light following an investigation by the Taipei City Police Department, he will not approve the resignation applied for by Fang.
Police Supporters Show Approval Though protesters against the precinct’s methods have amassed in numbers, so have supporters of the officers. Two Facebook groups in support of Fang have accumulated over 215,000 “likes” on social media, with several netizens imposing Fang’s picture onto heroic movie posters. Netizens have also left comments on the page showing their approval of police while criticizing the behaviors of alliance protestors. Associate professor Yeh Yu-lan (葉毓蘭) of the Central Police University, Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新) and family members of the police also visited the precinct yesterday to give the officers their acknowledgement and support, followed by the appearance of White Justice Social Alliance (白色正義社會聯盟) members. The large group of supporters flooded the street in front of the precinct by 4 p.m. yesterday and called out their recognition to police efforts and Fang. Fang’s daughter also supported her father on her Facebook page, saying that she is proud that he has worked so hard throughout the entire situation. Fang’s daughter also appealed to the public, encouraging support for police officers.