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Legislative session may be extended to July due to protest

2014/03/21 14:01:59

Taipei, March 21 (CNA) The current session of the Legislative Yuan, scheduled to end late May, might have to be extended to mid-July due to repair work necessitated by the continued occupation of the legislative chamber by protesters, an official said Friday.

The official, who requested anonymity as the protest is ongoing, said repairs could take up to a month to complete, which would delay further the legislative session already paralyzed by the protest against the service trade agreement with China and how it has been handled by lawmakers.

The official estimated the hundreds of demonstrators had caused NT$100 million (US$3.27 million) in damages to tables, chairs, electronic voting machines and other electronic devices since they took over the legislative chamber and blocked themselves in Tuesday night.

Tsai Wei-min, head of the Legislature's general affairs division, said however that an accurate estimate of the damages will not be available until after the protest comes to an end.

The demonstrators, mostly students, have occupied the Legislative Yuan since late Tuesday in reaction to a plan by the ruling Kuomintang to steamroll the cross-Taiwan Strait trade-in-services agreement through the legislative process.

In addition to asking for the chance to have direct dialogue with President Ma Ying-jeou, the protesters have also demanded that the agreement be returned to legislative committees for detailed review and that the Legislature immediately enact laws governing the signing of future cross-strait agreements.

(By Lee Ming-chung, Claudia Liu and Y.F. Low)

Related stories:
●March 21: Top meeting on Legislative standoff postponed
●March 20: President to meet legislative speaker on ending occupation (update)
●March 20: Legislature occupation enters third day, remains mostly peaceful
●March 18: Protesters break police line, storm Legislature (This also includes all the latest developments of the Legislature occupation.)