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Students mark first anniversary trade pact with China
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-21 07:31 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Student organizations who occupied the Legislative Yuan earlier this year returned to the area Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the signing of the trade-in-services pact with China.

Students and other activists occupied the legislative compound from March 18 to April 10 to protest government attempts at forcing through the trade accord. A special session of the Legislature is expected to discuss the issue again soon, while a key demand of the students, the passage of rules monitoring trade talks with China, has not been realized yet.

The demand was repeated at the event Saturday evening, while the organizers also demanded a thorough review of a government plan for Special Economic Pilot Zones and the inclusion of the concepts of a “new country, new constitutional politics, new society” among the key aims of the protest movement.

The rally was scheduled to last from 6 to 11 p.m. and featured rock bands as well as speakers such as Taiwan Referendum Alliance leader Tsay Ting-kuei and veteran Taiwan Independence activist Su Beng.

More than 300 police officers were present Saturday evening to prevent a repeat of the occupation, even though organizers had said the event would be peaceful. Vigilance was high both inside and outside the compound, with barricades erected to prevent intrusions. The protesters accused the authorities of excessive measures, criticizing them for having turned the area into a war zone.

The protest site featured banners against the government and petition forms to launch recalls against several lawmakers of the ruling Kuomintang, including Alex Tsai and Wu Yu-sheng.

By 7 p.m., an estimated 400 people were attending the event, reports said.

During the occupation, a smaller group of students also entered the Executive Yuan offices on March 23 but were expelled by police wielding batons and water cannons the following morning. A total of 171 students and activists were recently referred for investigation over the occupations and several related protests, reports said.

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