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63 people arrested in protest against military pension reform (update)

2018/04/25 21:46:11

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) Police arrested 63 people in Taipei on Wednesday for disorderly conduct during a protest against the government's planned military pension reform.

The protesters from the veterans group "800 Warriors" had gathered peacefully in the morning outside the Legislature while the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee was holding a public hearing on the reform proposal.

Around 3 p.m., however, clashes with police in the area erupted as the protesters tried to tear down the police barricade to enter the Legislature building.

Some protesters threw bottles, plastic chairs, sticks, stones and smoke bombs, which resulted in injury to 32 police officers and 11 reporters, according to information released by Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇).

Three police officers were rushed to an infirmary inside the Legislature after a liquid that was later identified as pepper sauce was tossed in their faces, Hsu said.

The protesters also dragged a police officer out of the building and turned on reporters, snatching away some of their cameras, according to Hsu.

In response, Director-General of the National Police Agency Chen Chia-chin (陳家欽) gave an order for troublemakers to be arrested, and 63 people were subsequently detained.

The clashes continued throughout the day and the demonstration escalated in evening, Hsu said, adding that the protesters were scaring doctors, nurses and patients at the nearby National Taiwan University Children hospital.

Some 1,000 police officers were deployed at the site as the protesters prepared to hold an overnight vigil.

Hsu, however, urged the protesters to go home but he did not say whether they would be forcibly removed if they did not comply.

The "800 Warriors" are protesting against a government reform proposal that would effectively cut military pensions by gradually reducing a preferential 18 percent interest rate on pension savings.

(By Huang Li-yun, Ku Chuan, Wang Cheng-chung, Liu Kuan-ting,
Elaine Hou and Kuan-lin Liu)
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