Opposition parties and civic groups are working together on a full-scale protest that includes legislative boycotts, a “siege” of the legislature and street rallies after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) cut short the review of the cross-strait service trade agreement on Monday and sent the pact directly to the plenary session for its second reading.
At about 9pm, more than 300 students and demonstrators broke from the rally outside the Legislative Yuan, broke into the compound and took over the podium on the legislative floor.
The police did not evacuate the protesters.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times.
The protesters staged a sit-in in the assembly hall where lawmakers hold meetings, saying that they would stay there until Friday and until the KMT withdraw the agreement from the plenary.
The protesters called on supporters to bring supplies to the site.
The KMT caucus has breached a previously reached inter-party consensus that the pact — which experts said could severely affect local industries — must be reviewed clause-by-clause in the Legislative Yuan, which has infuriated the public, the opposition said, adding that the move amounted to contempt of parliament and a betrayal of democratic principles.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
In response, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) boycotted the Legislative Yuan’s plenary session yesterday, forcing Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to announce an adjournment for party negotiations.
Opposition parties vowed to continue boycotting the plenary until the KMT retracts the agreement.
With President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and the KMT showing no signs of retracting the agreement, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said the party would launch a series of “countermeasures” against the KMT over the next three days.
Photo: Mandy Cheng, AFP
The DPP said that it would propose a “better agreement” than the current service trade pact in its Central Standing Committee meeting today and convene a meeting with representatives from various industries and civic groups tomorrow to discuss the establishment of an alliance to monitor the review of the agreement.
In addition, the party plans to launch a campaign to “besiege” the Legislative Yuan.
“Our goal to review the pact clause-by-clause and to renegotiate the deal remains unchanged,” Su said.
The TSU is mobilizing its supporters and industry representatives to “besiege” the Legislative Yuan on Friday, with TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) accusing the KMT of breaching the consensus, which Huang called unacceptable.
Speaking to reporters after the plenary session yesterday, Wang said that although the KMT’s handling of the review surprised him, he would not speculate on what the pan-blue and pan-green camps would do next week.
While another round of inter-party negotiation is needed, “the atmosphere is not appropriate for both camps to sit down and talk at this moment,” Wang said.
At separate press conferences, DPP caucus director-general Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said that the party would continue boycotting plenary sessions until the KMT offers a concession, while DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) insisted that the agreement should stay in the committee and be reviewed line-by-line.
Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of the DPP posted on Facebook that he supported an “all-out protest” in collaboration with the public against the KMT.
Dozens of civic group representatives and students, who have had been camping outside the Legislative Yuan since Monday, stepped up their mobilization efforts, urging the public to join the sit-in and an overnight rally to voice their opposition to what they called the KMT’s “brutal” decision that had completely ignored the interests of the Taiwanese.
DPP lawmakers Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) and Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) also staged a 70-hour hunger strike, which began at noon yesterday and would last until 10am on Friday, when a plenary session is scheduled to commence.
The protest in front of the Legislative Yuan would continue until Friday, according to Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強), convener of the Democratic Front Against the Cross-strait Trade in Services Agreement and spokesperson of the rally.
Beginning yesterday morning, the police have reinforced deployment and have installed a road block around the Legislative Yuan compound to keep the protesters from entering the compound and to prepare for the planned siege on Friday.
CLOSED FOR DISINFECTION: Two of the three local cases were linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten, while the other case works at a McDonald’s restaurant The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported three new local COVID-19 infections and 11 imported cases, but no deaths. The local cases are two men and a woman aged between 20 and 80 who reside in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, the CECC said in a news release. Two of them are linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman. He said they are both associated with the mother of a kindergarten student, who was earlier confirmed to have
BIOLOGICAL AGENT: A containment exercise was held in southern Tainan, in response to a mock assault where troops were assumed to be attacked by bioweapons The live-fire component of this year’s annual Han Kuang military exercises, Taiwan’s major war games involving all military branches, began yesterday morning and is to run until Friday to test the armed forces’ capability to fend off a Chinese invasion. The 37th edition of the annual event officially began after the Ministry of National Defense’s Joint Operations Command Center, also known as the Hengshan Command Center, announced the initiation of the five-day live-fire drills. Yesterday’s drills were focused on testing the military’s preservation and maintenance of combat capabilities in the event of a full-scale Chinese invasion. As part of the drills, air force
‘RAISING TAIWAN’S VISIBILITY’: Premier Su Tseng-chang said changing TECRO’s name to include ‘Taiwan’ would make the representative office more recognizable The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday declined comment on a Financial Times report that the name of Taiwan’s representative office in Washington might be changed, saying only that bolstering and upgrading ties with the US has been the government’s long-term objective. The ministry made the comments after the UK-based newspaper reported on that US President Joe Biden’s administration is considering allowing the government to use the word “Taiwan” in the office’s title. The US is “seriously considering a request from Taiwan to change the name of its mission in the US capital from ‘Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office’ [TECRO] to ‘Taiwan
WELCOME BACK: Foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese can now directly apply for a visa with representative offices overseas, the CECC said Regulations on applications for entry to the nation by foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese have been relaxed effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported two new local and three imported cases of COVID-19. Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center, said the relaxation meant that such applications would be treated as general cases, instead of special ones that are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. “Considering the recent local COVID-19 situation and the needs of foreign spouses and children to visit their family in Taiwan, we are allowing Taiwan’s