Opponents of student occupation take to the streets
KMT and police relatives pick carnation to oppose sunflower
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-29 05:21 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Three groups opposing the occupation of the Legislative Yuan emerged Saturday, calling on the students to return home.

The events came on the eve of a massive protest in support of the occupiers expected to draw more than 100,000 people to the road in front of the Presidential Office. The key issue the students have been opposing is the government’s insistence on the passage of a trade-in-services pact with China signed last June.

On the eve of the Sunday protest, groups opposing the student occupation also came out on the streets for the first time. The three different events used the carnation and white T-shirts as their symbols in order to set themselves apart from the students’ sunflowers and black clothes.

The first group to emerge was a youth workers association of the ruling Kuomintang holding a sit-in at a school near the Legislative Yuan. They said their carnations symbolized mothers looking out for their sons to leave the Legislature and return home.

The KMT youths called for a rational review of the trade pact, opposed violence, and accused the students of being too picky in their rejection of government offers about the trade deal review.

KMT Central Standing Committee member Yao Chiang-lin said the action wanted to pay attention to a different voice representing public opinion, and formed a moderate appeal to the occupiers to return home and stop dividing society.

Organizers said they had not heard any viable alternatives from the students for the service trade pact or any constructive suggestions on how Taiwan could avoid being marginalized.

To close off their action, they put down carnations on the ground in the shape of the Chinese character for “home,” reports said.

Later Saturday afternoon, sympathizers and relatives of police officers gathered at Taipei’s Liberty Square to call on the students to return home and allow police to do the same.

Wives of officers complained to the media that they had not seen their husbands for many days because of the occupation, which started on March 18. Some of the protesters accused the students of violence during the March 23 attempt to take over the Executive Yuan. A minority of students tried to occupy the building, which includes the office of Premier Jiang Yi-huah, but was expelled by riot police using water cannons and batons the next morning.

A third group of opponents emerged at the Taipei Rail Station at 5 p.m. Saturday in the shape of a flash mob also calling for an end to the occupation and a return to normal legislative procedures, reports said.

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