|A protester, right, and Commissioner Liu on placard|
The Miaoli City Hall has denied a group’s application to stage a rally on Aug. 16 on grounds that it would ‘disturb’ nearby offices and schools
Having received what appears looks like a carte blanche from the central government to do as he seems, Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) still isn’t satisfied with demolishing people’s homes and farmland, fining them, deploying police with assault rifles, and performing what can only be explained as magic to “redistribute” high-value plots of land to his close family members via a “lottery.” Warlord Liu is now directly attacking people’s right to assemble.
Liu, who reportedly spent NT$16,000 of our hard-earned money as taxpayers per night on hotels during a recent visit to China, has gotten away with a lot of violations over the years, so much so that people’s immediate reaction when local residents complain of abuse is to counter with a “what did you expect, this is Miaoli.” But now, following a first round of evictions and land grabs in 2010, and July 18’s demolition of four homes in Dapu (大埔), a group of people, along with NGOs, are saying they’ve had enough. Various protests were launched nationwide following the demolitions, and a large rally, this one regrouping Dapu activists and other individuals who have had their homes demolished by the state, will be held in Taipei on Aug. 18.
A “Youth League to Defend Miaoli” has also been formed in response to the state’s unwillingness to stop the local predations. Some of its activists successfully blocked a demolition earlier this week (oh yes, Liu is insatiable). The League has also applied for a permit from the Miaoli City Hall to hold a “Dismantle the government! Guardians of Miaoli” (拆政府！守護苗栗晚會) event on Aug. 16, starting at 6pm. But today the organizers were informed that the government has turned down their request, saying the rally would disturb nearby government offices, a library and cram schools. From 6pm, on A Friday. Government offices. Right.
As the League wrote on its Facebook page today, Liu has held several rowdy events at the same location over the years, but somehow a peaceful protest would disturb the peace in the area. This undoubtedly is an attempt by Liu to deny people’s right to assemble, and to silence any opposition to his increasingly authoritarian deeds.
Needless to say, the organizers have decided not to cancel the event. “You wait and see, Liu Cheng-hung!” the post concludes. (Photo by the author)