WARDENS ACCUSED:Among those accused of using violence against protesters were two borough wardens, who former toll collectors say assaulted them at a FamilyMart
Former toll collectors yesterday accused police of inaction after the activists were allegedly assaulted by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supporters on Thursday night, when they tried to air their grievances to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) at a KMT rally.
The former toll collectors vowed to stage a string of protests targeting campaign rallies of KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文).
Video footage from local media reports showed a woman at the rally dragging a protester by the hair and slapping her in the face after the protester asked Lien about his opinion on the former toll collectors.
“In the coming week leading up to the elections, we will follow on the heels of all pan-blue camp rallies so the government can hear the voices of the workers,” labor activist Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮) said.
Police were heard addressing the woman who assaulted the protesters as “Hsiao-chiao (小喬),” Chen said.
Among those accused of using violence against the protesters were two borough wardens of Taipei’s Zhongzheng District (中正), Wang Yao-hsu (王曜樹) and Hsu Yi-ming (許益明), who the toll collectors say physically assaulted them at a FamilyMart convenience store next to the rally venue.
Multiple protests were ongoing, while four representatives of the Former Toll Collectors Self-Help Organization moved a hunger strike to in front of the Ministry of Transportation building after beginning the protest on Thursday afternoon outside KMT headquarters.
They were encamped in a line of large tents on the sidewalk in front of the ministry building.
The former toll collectors congregated in front of the office of Taipei City Police Department’s Zhongzheng Second Precinct yesterday morning, saying that they intended to press charges against the police for “covering up” the alleged acts of violence.
Although police said in a statement on Thursday morning that they were willing to investigate the incident, the former toll collectors said police were unqualified to do so, since the police were “accomplices” to the violence.
The former toll collectors later went to “canvass” the constituencies of Wang and Hsu, Dingdong (頂東) and Nanfu (南福) boroughs respectively, passing out fliers to warn residents about the “violent” borough wardens.
The former toll collectors lost their jobs after the nation switched to a distance-based electronic toll collection system in January, removing all toll booths and leaving about 1,000 toll collectors unemployed.