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AI, IJF criticize administration for protest crackdown
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-27 02:05 PM
Several international human rights organizations are excoriating the government of Ma Ying-jeou for its decision to send in riot police backed by water cannon to remove student protesters from the Executive Yuan Monday morning.

The more than 60,000-member International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) issued a statement Wednesday condemning the administration’s move against the protesters. IFJ also criticized police attempts to limit media coverage of the early-morning move in order to suppress images and news of violent actions during the eviction.

On Tuesday Amnesty International (AI) spoke out against the government’s decision to use water cannon to help disperse students and other protesters who had broken into the Executive Yuan on Sunday, in a separate move from the original group occupying the nearby Legislative Yuan. AI called on Taiwan authorities to act very carefully in handling the protest movement in order to ensure that the human rights of demonstrators are not violated.

An appeal from AI last week to protect and respect the human rights of the protesters had hardly been received when leaders in the Ma administration gave the order to violently repress students and other gathered peacefully inside and outside the Executive Yuan.

Members of AI tweeted criticism of the Ma administration for turning high-pressure water jets on people sitting outside the Executive Yuan. The organization urged Taiwan authorities made to protect the rights of protesters and said its team in Taiwan will continue to monitor the actions of police against people involved in demonstrations against the government’s handling of the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

Headquartered in Brussels, IFJ echoed an earlier statement released by the Association of Taiwan Journalists. IFJ took the Ma government to task for attempting to limit media coverage of the police action against the protesters in order to suppress reports of violence and rough handling of protesters who have been largely extremely peaceful throughout their movement in protest of TiSA and its handling.

IFJ tweeted, “Journalists Obstructed as Police Use Force against Taiwan Student Demonstrators.“ The association noted that people in Taiwan are deeply concerned about the situation at both the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan and will not tolerate restrictions on the rights of the media to conduct interviews and report from the scene. They are absolutely opposed to any use of violence against the media, particularly when it serves to restrict coverage of stories of significant interest to the public.

IFJ strongly urged Taiwan authorities to take steps to ensure that in the future all media will be allowed to safely perform their professional duties in the student protests and other events taking place in Taiwan.

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