The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday pledged its full support to the student protesters who have occupied the legislative chamber since Tuesday night and called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to apologize and send the cross-strait service trade pact back to a joint committee for review.
“We will be on the students’ side as long as the protest continues. And we call on Ma to stop angering the protesters and hold himself accountable for the controversy,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a press conference in Taipei.
The students occupied the legislature because the pact was not signed in a transparent manner and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) broke a cross-party consensus to review the deal line-by-line, Su said.
Meanwhile, the DPP’s Central Standing Committee issued a three-point resolution, calling for the Ma administration to stop using police against the students, for Ma to apologize for the KMT’s “violation of democratic principles” and for the KMT to send the pact back for a clause-by-clause review, the chairman said.
Su asked DPP officials in northern Taiwan to join the protest and protect the students. The party urged the public to join a planned siege of the legislative chamber tomorrow, when the Legislative Yuan is scheduled to hold a plenary session.
There are 136 party officials, elected officials and candidates in party primaries in Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung and Taoyuan County, Department of Organization director Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said, adding that about 8,000 DPP supporters are expected to join the protest tomorrow.
DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the party would provide food and water, as well as an aid station and legal service for the students.
Ma should never underestimate the students’ and the DPP’s determination to safeguard Taiwan’s democratic mechanism, he said.
Less than three hours after the students occupied the legislative chamber, top DPP politicians, including Su, former chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premiers Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) staged a sit-in in front of the chamber in a show of support.
They negotiated with the police about the way the protesters should be treated and a planned evacuation before leaving at around 5am, with DPP lawmakers divided into groups to guard various entrances of the building in an effort to prevent police from forcing their way to try to remove the students.
In related news, about a dozen Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) members lodged a protest against the KMT in front of the KMT headquarters yesterday afternoon, demanding a clause-by-clause review of the service trade pact and for Ma to step down.
The TSU members engaged in a brief altercation with police officers outside the building.
A KMT official agreed to relay the TSU’s demands to the party headquarters, but refused to receive their petition letter.