Several high-profile celebrities yesterday endorsed the unprecedented move by students to occupy the Legislative Yuan overnight in protest against what the protesters said was the President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s attempt to destroy the country by pushing the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement through the legislature.
The students rushed into the legislature and seized the podium at about 9pm on Tuesday as a large-scale demonstration was being staged outside the building protesting against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus’ move on Monday to send the pact directly to a second reading rather than reviewing it item-by-item, as agreed upon by all parties.
The students’ occupation of the podium drew immediate support from Taiwanese singer-songwriter Deserts Chang (張懸), who issued a statement on Facebook late last night urging KMT lawmakers to honor their promise and calling on people not to give up their right and opportunity to participate in civil society.
Chang also joined the crowd of more than 2,000 protesters who gathered outside the legislature yesterday morning as a gesture of support for the students inside the building.
Also present were film director Ko I-chen (柯一正), entertainer Cheng Chia-chen (鄭佳甄), who is better known by her nickname “Chicken Cutlet Girl” (雞排妹), Golden Bell Award-winning actor Huang He (黃河), indie singer-songwriter Crowd Lu (盧廣仲) and iconic Hoklo folk singer Chen Ming-chang (陳明章).
“Ma is full of lies. He lied to the people about the cross-strait agreement and the problem-plagued Fourth Nuclear Power Plant... He promised us that there was no timeline for accepting ractopamine-laced US beef when he was running for re-election, but the minute he got what he wanted, he started saying that the economy would come crashing down unless we allowed imports of the beef,” Ko said.
Ko and others began a sit-in outside the legislature on Tuesday night, saying he was confident that “people power would eventually prevail over a ruling party determined to mess up and destroy the country.”
Taiwanese rock band Mayday’s (五月天) bassist, Masa (瑪莎), opted for a more creative way to endorse the students’ action. He closed his coffee shop in Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park yesterday and asked his fans to meet him outside the legislature instead.
Other celebrities voiced their support for the students with messages on Facebook.
Taiwanese writer and filmmaker Giddens Ko (柯景騰), better known by his pseudonym, Jiubadao (九把刀), expressed gratitude to the students for their courage
“The legislature is now finally a palace of democracy,” Giddens Ko said.
Veteran director and playwright Wu Nien-jen (吳念真) asked the people at the Legislative Yuan building to help take care of Ko I-chen, who is 68 years old.
Veteran variety show host Kevin Tsai (蔡康永) posted a photograph of the student occupation on Facebook and asked netizens to show support to the students by sharing the picture.