Sunday, March 1, 2009

Update: Disregard for the legal process - The last of the great Songshan camphor trees

Events at the site of the old Songshan Tobacco Factory continue. Yesterday afternoon the police forcibly removed Calvin Wen the Green Party Taiwan candidate for the Da-an District legislative by-election from the last of nearly 700 native old camphor trees at the site of the old Songshan Tobacco Factory after he stayed in the tree overnight to prevent it from being cut down. Despite the fact that the court must still rule on the legality of the project, that the second environmental impact assessment (EIA) has yet to be passed by the Environmental Protection Administration's EIA Committee, and that the zoning procedures are incomplete, the Taipei City Government has allowed the developers to go ahead with the project sparking outrage from environmentalists and local residents who oppose the project who have filed a lawsuit against the government. Instead of the police insisting that legal process is respected and preventing the removal of the tree in question they have chosen to take sides and support the developer and brutalise protesters that have gathered insisting that the removal of the tree is halted until the courts rule on the matter. The unprofessional and brutal conduct of the police in Taipei last November led to international condemnation of their behaviour.

We have learned that Taipei based lawyer and Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association director, Robin Winkler was not amongst those arrested on Friday as the article in yesterday's Taipei Times claimed but was present at the protest. It would appear that there were further arrests yesterday including that of Wang Hsiung-chung, director of Amnesty International Taiwan. It is unclear if Winkler may have been arrested yesterday afternoon or this morning when other protesters were arrested.

See today's Taipei Times for more on the issue. We will continue to bring you updates on the situation at the old Songshan Tobacco Factory.

See:- Disregard for the legal process:- The last of the great Songshan camphor trees

Update: It's gone ! Total disregard of the legal process - The last of the great Songshan camphor trees has gone !

More on the Songshan Tree issue

Songshan: Before and After Photos

Songshan update: case against activists dismissed

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