Slow work delays opening of hall until tomorrow

MOE's Chuang condemns city government for 'ceaseless obstruction' and 'blue terror'

The slow pace of work on the tablets at Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall has postponed the official public opening of the monument until Monday. Meanwhile, pan-blue and pan-green politicians continued to squabble over the renaming of the hall.
The replacement of the new tablets on the hall was expected to be completed today, in time for the monument to be opened tomorrow. The memorial park was expected to open this morning, as work on the main gate should have finished last night.
By 3 p.m. yesterday all the original granite tablets reading, "Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) Memorial Hall" had been removed and installation of the new tablets began. By 5:30 p.m. yesterday all four metal Chinese characters spelling "Liberty Square" had been installed on the front of the main gate. At press time, the installation work was still in process.
The work went slowly mainly because of the meticulous placement of each character on the main gate, as a ground crew had to stand approximately one hundred meters away and guide the team on the crane who were affixing the characters.
The MOE claimed that obstruction by the city government has also caused delays. Late Thursday night the city government's Labor Standard Inspection Office issued an order to halt all work on the gate inscriptions, citing unsafe scaffolding.
In addition, Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Education Chuang Kuo-jung said that the city government yesterday morning had sent a letter to the MOE demanding that the unsafe working conditions, including the scaffolding problem, be addressed. Later that afternoon the city sent another letter demanding that the work be halted completely.
"The city government has conducted at least five safety inspections in the last three days, which has deliberately obstructed and delayed the construction work," said Chuang.
On Friday the contractor doing the replacement work filed a request to resume work on the site, but he received no response from the city government. Thus, no progress was made Friday on the main building's tablets. The MOE, however, disregarded the city's order and resumed work.
Yesterday afternoon the city government sent officers with video cameras to the site to record evidence that its prohibition orders were being ignored and said that those found in violation of the order would face investigation by prosecutors.
Chuang yesterday condemned what he called the "the city government's ceaseless obstruction," and described it as "blue terror."
The work drew many visitors yesterday, the majority of whom were pan-green supporters celebrating the change. Over the previous days the crowds at the site were mainly pan-blue supporters protesting the planned modifications to the hall.
Yesterday, about 50 pan-blue supporters showed up at the compound, waving national flags and cursing the pan-green politicians, while at least twice as many pan-green supporters were present.
Earlier yesterday some pan-green supporters performed a dragon dance and martial arts demonstration to celebrate the event. Three monks went to the site yesterday to protest the modification, but they were soon expelled by police, on grounds that they were part of an unapproved gathering. A few verbal clashes occurred between the opposing factions, but the police generally maintained order.
The gathering of onlookers, both supporters and protesters, did not appear to be organized, but rather seemed individually motivated. Many tourists and residents also visited the site yesterday without expressing any political opinions.