Retired police, firefighters protest pension reform bill

The protesters joining the rally "Police and Firefighters Disobedience" broke into Control Yuan to force the flag at half-mast. (Photo courtesy of NOWnews, 2018.4.24)

Taipei, April 23 (CNA) Retired police officers and firefighters took to the streets of Taipei on Monday to protest the government’s pension reform bill for civil servants.

More than 5,000 people attended the rally to express their anger over what they considered an unfair reform bill, according to organizers, which included the Taiwan Association of Firefighters and the Retired Police Officers Association.

The protesters held placards reading “Protest stripping of military, police pensions” and “Government’s bad faith cannot be tolerated” and shouted for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to step down.

The pension reform plan for civil servants, which passed the legislative floor last year and is to take effect in July, set a minimum monthly pension payment of NT$32,160 (US$1,085) for civil servants.

But a separate pension reform bill proposed by the Cabinet for military personnel, which passed its first hurdle at the Legislative Yuan on April 20, would set the minimum monthly pension for retired military personnel at NT$38,990.

The rally “Police and Firefighters Disobedience” (Photo courtesy of NOWnews, 2018.4.23)

The proposed bill has since sparked anger among the country’s retired firefighters and police officers, who are covered by the plan for civil servants and are unhappy that their retirement benefits are clearly below that of retired soldiers.

Violence erupted outside the Control Yuan and the legislative building on Monday as the protest went into full swing, with protesters clashing with law enforcement officers.

The chaos also led to injuries to members of the local media, with three local journalists rushed to the nearby National Taiwan University Hospital for treatment.

The day’s rally took protesters around the city’s major government buildings, according to organizers, who said a sit-in protest will continue in the evening outside the legislative building.

The rally “Police and Firefighters Disobedience” (Photo courtesy of NOWnews, 2018.4.23)

(By Huang Li-yun and Ko Lin)