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DPP mobilizes to support student protesters at Legislature

2014/03/21 17:55:00

Taipei, March 21 (CNA) Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang threw his support Friday behind student protesters who stormed the Legislature March 18 and have stayed there since, saying that they are "great" and "are doing the right thing."

The DPP mobilized party members to lay siege to the Legislature to lend support to the protesters, mostly students, who were occupying the legislative chamber for a fourth day, paralyzing its operations.

The people began to converge at 9:30 a.m, but as there were different assembly points, the actual number that showed up was difficult to estimate.

Campaign banners of DPP aspirants for the year-end elections also appeared on the scene, drawing flak from other groups who demanded that the DPP remove banners unrelated to the protest against the controversial trade-in-services deal with China.

Su spoke in front of the Legislature, calling for people to clench their fists and shout "save democracy, care for people's lives" and "restart negotiations."

He said that the ruling Kuomintang has smeared the students and him, accusing him of mobilizing the students. He said the students are "pure and idealistic, and their actions spontaneous." He added that they stormed the legislature because they cannot tolerate the government any longer.

Former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ying-wen also called for everyone to stand by the students, saying that she was moved by the young people and that they should be protected.

On President Ma Ying-jeou's convening of a meeting on the protest, Tsai also said through a news release that it is not a dispute between the legislative and executive branches but a clash between Ma and the public will.

She termed the trade-in-services pact an "under-the-table" deal from its signing in June 2013 until the screening by the legislature, in a bid to skip public monitoring.

Tsai called on Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng to stick to the division between the legislative and executive branches, and said he has no need to attend a meeting called by Ma.

In addition to Su and Tsai, other DPP heavyweights who showed up included former premiers Yu Shyi-kun and Frank Hsieh, as well as former Vice President Annette Lu.

DPP local government heads also appeared, including Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te, Yilan Magistrate Lin Tsung-hsien and Yunlin Magistrate Su Chih-fen.

(By Sophia Yeh, Justin Su and Lilian Wu)

Related stories:
●March 21: Speaker skips out on meeting, pressures president for action
●March 21: Legislative session may be extended to July due to protest
●March 19: DPP politicians try to protect students inside Legislature
●March 18: DPP plans rally to pressure KMT on trade pact with China
●March 18: Service trade pact status unclear in Legislature

(For the latest on the Legislature occupation, click here.)