TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A rally against pension reform escalated into violence Wednesday, with several legislators and the mayor of Taipei City being attacked by protesters despite a massive police mobilization.
Anti-pension reform protesters flocked into the streets surrounding the Legislature Tuesday and stationed themselves overnight outside the compound in an attempt to block legislators from entering the chamber to review several pension reform draft bills the next day. The confrontation turned violent as some protesters splashed water and attacked pro-reform legislators.
The Legislature’s judicial committee was slated to review different versions of the pension reform draft bills on Wednesday morning. To block the bills, the anti-reform groups started to gather next to the compound beginning Tuesday noon. The groups submitted a petition letter to the Control Yuan, which is responsible for receiving people’s complaints against public servants or agencies and conducting relevant investigations and recommending penalization.
After the petition, the groups turned to the Legislature and gathered around the building. The Pension Reform Oversight Alliance, the protest organizer, said Tuesday it would bring 1,000 people to the Legislature.
Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m, Wednesday, hundreds of the protesters shouted slogans at the rally and paralyzed traffic around the building before lawmakers were scheduled to start reviewing the draft bills. Despite the presence of 2,000 police officers and barbed wire fences to separate protesters from the building, a few pro-reform legislators and their assistants were attacked by the protesters, including New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), who claimed his suit was ripped off by the mob when he walked straight past Qingdao East Road before entering the Legislature.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) was among the legislators being attacked by the protesters. He condemned the use of violence on legislators and innocent civilians, describing it as “gangster-like” action.
According to local media, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je, who is scheduled to attend another committee on infrastructure at the Legislature, managed to pass through the wire barbed fences to get in but was reportedly attacked by several protesters.