Taiwan military veterans clash with police in pension protest

Published February 27, 2018, 4:35 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Agence France-Presse

Protesters including senior military veterans pushed down a gate to Taiwan’s parliament building Tuesday and clashed with police as they tried to storm in over pension cutbacks.

One former colonel was in a critical condition in hospital after attempting to climb a wall and falling.

The protests were sparked by government plans to reform the military pension system, part of a wider pension cutbacks programme which triggered mass protests last year. (AFP photo)
The protests were sparked by government plans to reform the military pension system, part of a wider pension cutbacks program which triggered mass protests last year. (AFP photo)

The protests were sparked by government plans to reform the military pension system, part of a wider pension cutbacks program which triggered mass protests last year.

Legislators passed a pension reform bill last June, cutting civil servants’ generous pension packages as the government warned it could no longer pay out on the high-interest deals.

A separate bill targeting military pensions is expected to be discussed in the current parliament session.

The backlash over the cuts is a major challenge for President Tsai Ing-wen, who has seen her popularity rating fall since her election two years ago.

Dozens of protesters Tuesday pushed down a gate to the parliament compound in downtown Taipei as police attempted to stop them from rushing in.

Retired general Wu Sz-huai fainted in the skirmish while former colonel Miao Te-sheng was seriously injured.

Video footage showed a police officer trying to break Miao’s fall as he slipped from the second story of a building, landing on his back.

“We have spent more than a year protesting on the streets. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has completely ignored us, our petitions and protests,” one protester said in a video posted on the organizing group’s Facebook page.

It called for the bill passed last year to be halted and for government negotiations to be held over the military pension plan.

 
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