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Another 39 Sunflower Movement protesters indicted

2015/05/05 20:15

Taipei, May 5 (CNA) Thirty-nine people were indicted Tuesday for intruding into the Cabinet complex in Taipei during a mass protest last year against a controversial Taiwan-China trade pact.

Taipei prosecutors brought charges against the 39 people, saying they violated Article 306 of the Criminal Code, which forbids entry into another person's property without reason.

Video footage from a surveillance camera showed 13 of the demonstrators breaking into the Cabinet complex March 23, days after a group of student protesters invaded the Legislature and began an occupation that lasted 23 days, in protest against Taiwan's trade-in-services agreement with China.

Another 26 people drew the attention of prosecutors and the Cabinet when they filed a lawsuit over the injuries they suffered allegedly during the police action to disperse them from the Cabinet complex early on March 24.

The 26 people, including dentist Wang Hsin-kai, sued President Ma Ying-jeou and former Premier Jiang Yi-huah for attempted murder, citing police violence and injuries they sustained when police fired water cannons at them.

The Cabinet then sued the 26 people based on the information they had provided to back up its accusations, accusing them of intrusion and other violations.

During the investigations, all 39 people admitted to participating in the intrusion into the Cabinet complex, but said their actions were only in support of the demonstration, which became known as the Sunflower Movement.

The 39 people said they were exercising civil disobedience but did not break any laws.

Tuesday's indictment brought the number of protesters charged to 132, for intrusion into Cabinet complex, including Wei Yang, one of the protest leaders.

The Sunflower Movement began after ruling Kuomintang lawmaker Chang Ching-chung fast-tracked the cross-strait trade agreement through a committee review March 17.

The agreement has been stuck in the Legislature since it was signed in mid-2013, due to opposition and views that it might hurt job opportunities in Taiwan if the island opened up its service sector to Chinese investments.

(By Peggy Tsai and Scully Hsiao) enditem/pc