Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ex-toll workers protest over alleged police persecution

Ex-toll workers protest over alleged police persecution

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Former freeway toll collectors protest in front of the National Police Agency in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Former freeway toll collectors yesterday protested in front of the National Police Agency in Taipei to back their accusations of police persecution, saying that more than 100 former toll collectors were summoned to police stations for questioning after a demonstration last month on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (National Freeway No. 1).
Participants in last month’s protest, which blocked several lanes of the freeway, each received a traffic ticket with a NT$6,000 fine, amounting to more than NT$600,000, members of the Freeway Toll Collector Self-Help Organization said.
Following the nation’s transition to an electronic, distance-based toll system, about 1,000 toll collectors lost their jobs.
Labor activist Wu Jing-ru (吳靜如) said the group plans to launch a fundraising campaign to pay the fines, which are due next month.
She also called for lawyers to volunteer to help the protesters fight possible legal charges.
The group has threatened to occupy parts of the freeway again on Friday next week — a day before the nine-in-one elections — if the government does not provide a satisfactory solution.
“We hope the government does not become an accomplice in acts of persecution and force us to engage in more extreme forms of protest,” the organization’s director-general, Sun Hsiu-luan (孫秀鑾), said.
The group also announced plans to start an eight-day hunger strike on Thursday in front of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) headquarters in Taipei.
Police officials dismissed the persecution allegations, saying that the traffic fines were levied “according to the law,” and urged protesters to stay clear of freeways.

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