Thousands of young Taiwanese waved banners and shouted slogans to mark the third day of their occupation of parliament to protest against a trade pact with China which they fear could further swell Beijing’s economic influence.
Parliamentary approval of the pact would pave the way for greater economic integration between the two former geopolitical foes by opening 80 of China’s service sectors to Taiwan and 64 Taiwanese sectors to China.
The protesters say the deal will damage Taiwan’s economy and leave it vulnerable to political pressure from China.
“We will continue [the occupation] since [President] Ma did not respond to our demands or hold an open dialogue with the students and the people. We will take further actions,” one of the protest leaders, Huang Yu-feng, told reporters. Details would be unveiled later in the day, she said, after their ultimatum expired at noon on Friday.
President Ma Ying-jeou, meanwhile, called for a peaceful end to the standoff, saying a consensus should be reached in “rational and democratic ways”.
“President Ma hopes the parliament will resume functioning soon to ensure the constitutional order so the dispute can come to a peaceful end,” his office said in a statement.
Police set up barbed-wired barricades outside the presidential office and 2,000 officers were deployed in parliament, as the 200-plus protesters considered their counter-measures.
via The Guardian