Home > News > Regional
Friday March 21, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday March 21, 2014 MYT 7:17:38 AM
TAIPEI: Protesters barricaded themselves inside Taiwan’s parliament for a third straight day, threatening “further action” if the government pushes ahead with its plans to ratify a contentious trade pact with China.
More than 200 protesters – mostly young students – stormed through security barriers and took over the parliament’s main chamber late Tuesday in the first such occupation of the building in Taiwan’s history.
Hundreds of police officers attempted to barge their way in on Wednesday and end the occupation, but they failed to breach the improvised barricades fashioned by the students out of piles of armchairs.
As the stand-off entered a third day yesterday, student leader Chen Wei-ting said the protesters would mount “further action” unless President Ma Ying-jeou responds to their demands by today.
“We demand the government return the pact to China, tell China we don’t accept it,” student leader Lin Fei-fan told reporters, whose antics have been broadcast around the clock by Taiwanese TV networks.
“We ask President Ma Ying-jeou to respond to our demands by noon Friday or we will take further action,” Chen added, as the crowd chanted “return the service trade pact, defend democracy”.
While waiting for the government’s response in the chamber short of air conditioning, the protesters kept chanting slogans and singing as they managed to keep their spirits high.
Echoing the protesters’ appeal, Taiwan’s leading opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also warned of the Kuomintang government’s any attempt to disperse the protest gathering by force.
“Or we would mobilise supporters to surround parliament,” DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang told reporters amid rumours that the government could use police to quash what some local media have termed as Taiwan’s version of “Jasmine Revolution”.
Su, a former premier while the DPP was in office for eight years to 2008, hailed the students as “democracy guardians” while condemning Ma for his undaunted efforts to push parliament to ratify the controversial agreement.
The president’s office declined to comment on the demands, saying only that it supports the parliament’s efforts to “properly handle the situation in accordance with the law”.
The protesters have vowed to occupy the parliament until today, when lawmakers are set to hold a full session to review the pact.
Signed in July, the agreement is designed further to open up trade in services between China and Taiwan, which split 65 years ago after a civil war.
Like the protesters, the DPP says the deal will damage Taiwan’s economy and leave it vulnerable to political pressure from China. — AFP
Tags / Keywords:
Parents of students hurt in Taiwan blast seek privacy
Taiwan in the spotlight at travel fair
Amelia-Fie Cho fret not with Taiwan Open snub
Taiwan pilot shut off engine before air crash, report says
Second death after Taiwan water park disaster
Shopping made easy - consumers' choice of best products
Nazri: No need for Najib to resign on mere allegation
Gangsters break up DAP talk with Kit Siang in Johor
PKR Youth, Perkasa report Najib, WSJ to police
Celebrate Raya in style with GEMFIVE
The 3 unexpected life events that leave us in debt
LBU signs MoU to deliver Sarawak highway project
Buka puasa buffet with 80 dishes
Compound archers can still medal at Uni games
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)