Students plan mass protest March 30 on Ketagalan
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-27 05:56 PM
With the anti-TiSA student protest well into its tenth day, leaders of the movement held a press conference Thursday in which Lin Fei-fan stressed that protest is not quite over yet. He called for all supporters and friends of the movement to gather at 13:00pm on March 30 on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the President’s Office for a grand protest action.

Lin Fei-fan said the March 30 protest will underline the fact that "it is time to stop bowing down to the Ma government." He predicted that protesters will fill Ketagalan Boulevard and spill all the way around to Zhongshan South Road and up to the Legislative Yuan. Lin also presented four demands including the return of TiSA to committee for review in the Legislative Yuan; the development of an oversight mechanism to monitor cross-strait agreements; the convening of a People’s Constitutional Meeting; and the enactment of a procedure for handling cross-strait agreements before TiSA is subjected to review.

Lin opened the press conference by noting that the government had initially sought to wage a "war of attrition” that would wear down the student protesters. He said the administration thought that if the stand-off dragged on long enough the young protesters would gradually disperse on their own. “Did the Ma government expect us to just walk meekly out of the Legislative Yuan Assembly Hall?” he asked. “Well, Ma Ying-jeou was wrong!"

Lin then issued a call for supporters and friends of all ages to stand up together on March 30. He added that the government’s attempt to wear down the protesters could never consume their will: on the contrary, it only served to strengthen their resolve. He finished up by shouting, "We win!" and announcing that "the time has come to stop bowing to the Ma government."

Lin had said earlier Thursday that if ruling and opposition lawmakers are really set to begin examining the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) clause by clause, his work is over and the student protesters can all go back to class.

On Wednesday the protesters presented a memorandum titled, "Complete Cross-strait Agreement Oversight Regulations: First, Make the Law, then Review [TiSA]." The article laid out three main conditions the students said must be observed. To begin with, they want to see a comprehensive mechanism that will allow monitoring and supervision of cross-strait agreements. The Legislative Yuan should start by developing a complete supervisory structure before it gets into unraveling the disputes over TiSA, they say. Finally, the Legislative Yuan Program Committee must not interfere with the workings of the oversight mechanism and must allow the review to be carried out in the shortest possible time.

Student protest leaders Lin Fei-fan and Chen Wei-ting appeared in a press conference Thursday morning carrying boxes filled with copies of the group’s memorandum, Lin Fei-fan picked up one of the boxes and commented that many people have begun to worry about when the students will curtail their occupation of the Legislative Yuan. "Once the conditions laid out in this memorandum are met,” he said, “that’s our ticket to go home."

With the KMT legislative caucus finally ceding ground and consenting to send TiSA back to committee for a comprehensive review, Lin appeared on behalf of the student protesters and cautioned that the Legislative Yuan should first put rules and regulations in place that will ensure that in the future the procedural errors made in handling TiSA are not allowed to happen again.

Lin Hung-chih, Executive Director of the KMT Political Strategy Committee, said Wednesday morning that to resolve the deadlock over TiSA, the party’s legislative caucus would agree to a review of the trade pact, as long as the review is headed by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng. The party also asked that the format for the review sessions be informal and demanded that the DPP legislative caucus sign an agreement beforehand not to obstruct the review process.

Lin Fei-fan noted that the students hope that DPP and TSU legislators will pick up on the momentum of the students and the memorandum. He said some DPP legislators have already agreed to the memorandum, and also appealed to KMT legislators to respond positively to the students’ proposal in order to achieve truly representative politics in Taiwan.

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