Back to list

Legislature occupation enters third day, remains mostly peaceful

2014/03/20 10:58:53

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) A demonstration against a cross-Taiwan Strait trade-in-services agreement remained mostly peaceful as of Thursday morning as protesters continued to occupy the Legislative Yuan for a third day.

By late the previous evening, the organizers, led by the Democratic Front Against Cross-strait Trade-in-Services Agreement, estimated that more than 30,000 people had gathered in support of their cause, although police put the number at just 2,250 protesters inside and outside the legislative chamber, confronting an equal number of police officers.

As of early Thursday, both sides had shown restraint, without any major clashes.

Inside the legislative chamber, legislators from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rotated to guard its eight entrances, ready to alert the protesters of any possible action by police to evict them.

Outside, protesters shouted slogans from time to time to express their position, while several bands performed before the crowd in support of their cause.

Wu'er Kaixi, one of the student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China, went there to show his support for the protesters, whom he described as "the hope of Taiwan's democracy."

He urged President Ma Ying-jeou to visit the Legislature to apologize to the protesters, and to replace Premier Jiang Yi-huah as demanded by the protesters.

[Wang Dan (center left) and Wuer Kaixi (center right), both student leaders during the 1989 Beijing Tiananmen protest, visit protesters occupying the Legislative chamber in early hours Thursday. CNA photo March 20, 2014]

DPP heavyweights such as Chairman Su Tseng-chang, former Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and former Premier Yu Shyi-kun have also shown up to express their concern.

The protesters have been occupying the Legislature since Tuesday evening after they managed to storm the building during a rally.

The development followed an attempt by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) to steamroll the long-stalled pact through the legislative floor, despite having previously promised an item-by-item review of the pact.

The move sparked strong protests from the opposition parties and civic groups skeptical about the trade pact, which will open Taiwan's doors to China's service sector.

(By Lee Ming-chung, Chen Wei-ting, Tseng Ying-yu and Y.F. Low)

Related stories:
●March 20: Legislative committees call recess amid protest
●March 19: President calls for endorsement of trade pact before June (update)
●March 19: Opposition party mobilizes members, mulling 'long-term' protest
●March 18: Protesters break police line, storm Legislature (This also includes all the latest developments of the Legislature occupation.)