Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-08-27 02:57 PM
The final phase of the demolition process was due to be completed Thursday, reports said. The area surrounded a prison complex during the Japanese colonial era and was later handed over to the MOJ, which plans to hand over to the National Property Administration for urban renewal.
About 200 students and residents carried furniture in a mock funeral procession passing by the Executive Yuan and Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building Tuesday, reports said.
Shortly after noon they occupied the entrance to the MOJ while calling on a ministry official to meet them and accusing the authorities of fining and killing people. When police moved to try and clear the area, some protesters lied down on the ground to resist. After scuffles, the protesters reportedly agreed to step back and no longer block the entrance.
MOJ Chief Secretary Yang Ho-chin said the ministry had consulted the Taipei City Government over the past two weeks to relocate the residents of the 35 homes still to be razed. He emphasized they were illegally built and could be demolished by the end of the day.
Before the protest march started, students set up a commemorative shrine on a corner of the community at an intersection behind the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and held three minutes of silence for a resident who had died when being forced to move out.
The students accused the MOJ of using the least humanitarian of several choices to achieve its aims of evacuating the land. Instead of negotiating, the ministry was taking action through the courts, but the protesters said there could be no fair balance between the residents and the MOJ.
There were at least 2,700 organizations across the country which were watching how the MOJ handled the Huaguang case before deciding whether to follow suit, protesters said, hinting that a wave of demolitions might break out elsewhere.
The Huaguang Committee demolition has lasted several months, with wrecking crews only tackling one part at a time.
The conflict over the Taipei neighborhood bears comparisons to the incidents at Dapu Village, where the Miaoli County Government ordered the demolition of four homes to make way for a science park. The razing of the houses last month provoked numerous protests and conflicts, with police removing students and academics from events where top government leaders such as President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Jiang Yi-huah made appearances.
The Dapu demolition has been seen as part of a range of issues leading to a revival of social movements in Taiwan.