By Ted Chen ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — In a press release published on its website yesterday, the Zhongzheng First Precinct (中正一分局) announced that members of the Referendum Alliance (公投護台灣聯盟) would be granted the right to continue their protests near the Legislative Yuan.
The precinct stated that following a review, the alliance’s registration submission for parade and assembly has been approved. The group may resume their demonstration activities at Jinan Road (濟南路) near the Legislative Yuan.
The precinct, however, explained that the alliance’s previous permission to stage protests had been revoked due to multiple infractions of the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法). Infractions included trespassing and vandalism of public property at the Legislative Yuan on March 18, hampering police duties and blocking the vehicles of lawmakers entering the Legislative Yuan on April 3 and the blocking of public roads and staging of unauthorized demonstrations in restricted zones in front of the presidential residence and the Executive Yuan on April 6 and 7.
Based on these infractions, the police were compelled to remove members of the alliance from the plaza in front of the Legislative Yuan on the morning of April 11.
The precinct emphasized that all applications for permission to assemble and hold parades will be considered objectively, and that the police strive to uphold the freedom of speech of the populace while safeguarding social order from escalating conflicts that may threaten public safety.
Alliance Alleged to Have Aided Student Protestors According to reports, the police suspect that the alliance provided students with tools including wire cutters, ladders, and blankets to aid their swift takeover of the Legislative Yuan and the Executive Yuan. As a result the police deemed the alliance to be agitators and proposed to deny all future registrations for assembly and parade made by the alliance.
Since October 2008, the alliance has been entrenched at the Legislative Yuan at the intersection between Jinan Road and Tsing Tao East Road (青島東路), receiving over 200 week-long assembly approvals from the police to conduct their daily demonstrations.
Lawyers and legal experts stated that the precinct’s blanket refusal of all future assembly requests represents a step backwards in the people’s liberty and is unconstitutional. Consequently, the police’s announcement drew the ire of an estimated 1,000 protestors who swarmed the Zhongzheng First Precinct on Friday evening, calling for precinct chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) to step down and issue an apology.