Sat, Nov 15, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Strawberries returning to sit-in protest

GROWING A spokesman for the student movement said that the sit-in protest was expected to draw about 1,000 participants from around the nation today


The organizers of a recently established student movement pushing for reform of the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) announced yesterday a plan to expand the sit-in protest.

Lin Yu-hsuan (林邑軒), spokesman for the Taiwan Wild Strawberries Movement, said the week-long sit-in at Taipei’s Liberty Square would be expanded today and was expected to draw approximately 1,000 participants, including student representatives from Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung.

The sit-in earlier saw around 500 students participate, but the number has dropped to below 100 over the past few days as many returned to school for mid-term exams.

Lin said the group did not rule out the possibility that politicians sympathizing with their cause may be invited to take part. They had previously banned non-students from participating.

Lin said the group would continue their peaceful demonstration until their appeals were answered, disregarding possible dispersal by the police.

Over the past week, the group of students has been staging the sit-in to protest what they called the use of excessive force by police to disperse pro-independence demonstrators during a recent visit to Taiwan by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).

In addition to demanding an apology from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), the student group is also asking for the resignations of National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) and National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chun (王卓鈞).

The students also want the assembly law to be amended to relax its restrictions on people’s right to demonstrate. Protesters had complained that their applications to protest were rejected in many areas.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, Ma said there was room for improvement in Tsai and Wang’s performance in handling the demonstrations, but added: “This was not to the extent that they should be removed from their posts.”

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