Three protesters indicted for disrupting Taipei Universiade opening ceremony

Three retired military officers assaulted police or threw smoke bombs

Protesters prevented athletes from joining the Universiade opening ceremony Aug.19. (By Central News Agency)

Police presence outside the Universiade opening ceremony Aug.19. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Three protesters who disrupted the opening of the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade last August were charged Thursday with battery and obstruction of justice for attacking the police.

The Universiade, the largest international sports event ever to be staged in Taiwan, got off to a rocky start on August 19 when delegations of athletes were prevented from entering the stadium for the opening ceremony by protesters against the government’s pension reform policies.

During the melee outside the stadium, two men surnamed Yen (顏) and Li (李) assaulted a police officer while another man, named Chen (陳), threw two smoke bombs at the officer’s colleagues, the Central News Agency reported.

All three men were retired military officers who were taking part in the protest against the government, which reformed unfair pensions favoring civil servants, teachers and military personnel.

Viewers inside the stadium and watching television at home were initially unaware of the reason why the teams of athletes did not appear for the parade, and only Taiwanese staff carrying the national flags of the participating countries marched by.

After about half an hour, police managed to regain control of the scene outside and the athletes were able to walk into the stadium and continue the ceremony, be it with delays.