Ill-prepared police jumped by protesters twice
Central News Agency
2014-03-24 04:41 AM
Taipei, March 24 (CNA) The storming of the Executive Yuan by student-led protesters late Sunday marked the second time in a week that well-organized activists appeared to take police by surprise. When hundreds of protesters attending an evening rally outside the Legislative Yuan forced their way into the the main chamber on March 18, the police, who had no advance information on their plans, were not prepared to cope with the unprecedented situation. Two attempts to evict the students in the early hours of Wednesday failed, leaving protesters to occupy the chamber since then as crowds continued to gather outside. The National Police Agency (NPA) has since taken over policing at the Legislature compound, deploying 2,100 officers each day to maintain order in the mostly peaceful confrontation with the thousands of demonstrators opposed to Taiwan's service trade pact with China. After the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) called on supporters to join the protest at the Legislative Yuan on March 21, the NPA stepped up security around the Executive Yuan and the Presidential Office, both only a few hundred meters away, on concerns that protest activities could spill over to other parts of the capital. Barbed wire obstacles and other measures were an deployed, but the number of police remained thin. In the end, it took only dozens of activists coming over from the Legislative Yuan just a block away to overcome the police force charged with guarding the Executive Yuan compound. They came with quilts and ladders with which to scale the steel barriers with barbed wire. Some managed to pull the barriers apart to make way for other charging protesters. Many hundreds followed shortly after they learned what was happening via Facebook and a popular online forum known as PTT. A key reason for the lack of preparation on the part of the police appears to be their inability to plug into that flow of information. After all, that is the reason they were taken by surprise on March 18 in the first place. (By Lin Chang-shun and Jay Chen)
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