Students return to Legislative Yuan for protest
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-26 07:15 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Students who occupied the Legislative Yuan last spring returned on Thursday to protest against Kuomintang attempts to approve the government’s Special Economic Pilot Zones proposal.

The Legislature’s special session had put the issue on its agenda for Thursday, the first full day of the visit by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun to Taiwan.

Both the opposition parties and the social movements opposed the passage of the pilot zone plan, and the review only covered four out of 73 articles during an estimated three hours of work.

As the lawmakers discussed the government proposal inside, protesters succeeded in climbing over the outer perimeter and hold a sit down on a plaza inside the compound, reports said.

Police took action to remove the protesters within half an hour. The activists reportedly belonged to the same groups which occupied the Legislative Yuan from March 18 to April 10 as a protest against the trade-in-services pact with China. KMT lawmakers also hope to deal with that item during the current special session, which is scheduled to close on July 4.

During Thursday’s protest, six activists were put in restraints or handcuffed, while four were reportedly injured. An estimated 50 protesters continued the action outside the compound around noon, reports said.

Inside, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party challenged a clause which would leave the Ministry of Economic Affairs in charge of the pilot zones. Lawmakers said the new National Development Council, which has drawn up the plans for the project, should remain in place as the leading authority.

The government rejected accusations that it was trying to force through the pilot zones plan without adequate debate and monitoring by the public. Critics, including student activists and opposition parties, have repeatedly alleged that the government was trying to keep as much information as possible away from the public in order to hide the potential negative effects on Taiwan’s economy.

The topic of the pilot zones was unlikely to come up again Friday, since the Legislative Yuan is scheduled to discuss the nomination of the members of the Control Yuan, the top government watchdog.

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