Students expect 100,000 at peaceful rally
Overseas students to rally in 16 countries
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-28 04:33 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Students occupying the Legislative Yuan said they were expecting at least 100,000 people dressed in black to participate in Sunday’s peaceful protest against the trade-in-services pact with China.

The rally is expected to be the largest mass event since the action at the Legislature started on March 18.

The protesters are asked to stand from the Legislative Yuan to Ketagalan Boulevard, the wide avenue in front of the Presidential Office Building.

Student leader Lin Fei-fan said his group would maintain its occupation but send extra guards over to the rally to maintain order and guarantee the peaceful non-violent nature of the event. Lin said they would not tolerate any violence or clashes during the rally.

Protesters would not be allowed to throw objects or to attack police barriers, the student leader said. On March 23, a group of protesters invaded the Executive Yuan, which include Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s office, before being repelled by police the next morning. The clashes gave rise to allegations of police brutality against unarmed students and teachers.

Asked whether he stood by the original plan to allow the occupation of Ketagalan Boulevard to last beyond midnight, Lin said that he would have to observe the situation on the ground at the time. Police said permission for the event had been given, but the protest should stop before midnight.

Lin said that student leaders had discussed the issue but not reached a decision yet. He emphasized the main aim was to persuade the government to come out and solve the problem, not to attack or challenge the police.

In a sign of support for the students, former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung was planning to join the occupiers beginning Saturday, reports said. Lin has a long record of social activism, including the launching of events against nuclear energy.

The event will not be limited to Taipei, since sympathizers in 45 cities in 16 countries across the world would hold similar protests, Lin said. Students from Hong Kong have already pledged their support, as some of them also participated in the Taipei events, reports said.

Initially, only Taiwanese students in Great Britain and Germany wanted to rally in favor of Taiwan’s democracy, but later they also contacted their colleagues in Japan, Australia, South Korea, Italy and other countries, leading to the organization of many sit-in protests and marches.

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