Consecutive protests against the opaque signing of the cross-strait service trade agreement have been scheduled in Taipei, with a rally in front of the Presidential Office tonight launching the event-packed seven days of action.
The events, organized by various civic groups, are to be held simultaneously with the extra legislative session that begins on Tuesday next week to pressure lawmakers, who are set to screen the pact clause-by-clause and vote on the agreement’s implementation, and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Leading the charge is a protest organized by the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) from 5:30pm today on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei to highlight people’s concerns about the opacity of the trade pact and its potentially damaging impact on the local service sectors and their workers.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) are expected to address the crowd tonight, according to the organizers.
Following the initial action, a protest organized by a dozen civic groups, including the Cross-Strait Agreement Watch, Taiwan Democracy Watch and the Taiwan Labor Front, is to be held tomorrow night in front of the Legislative Yuan from 6pm to 10pm.
Organizers said they opposed the opacity of the agreement and a possible push by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to fast-track the agreement directly to a second reading in the legislature’s extra session.
They also demanded that the government hold public hearings on the potential effects of cross-strait liberalization on each sector listed under the pact.
Pro-independence groups, among them Taiwan Nation Alliance, the TAUP, the World United Formosans for Independence and the Taiwan Society, plan a four-day demonstration to “besiege the legislature” between Monday and Thursday, demanding the lawmakers to safeguard the democratic system in Taiwan and not approve the agreement.