[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Protesters invade Taiwan Cabinet offices

Crowd of about 800 students occupy cabinet offices in Taipei to protest against far-reaching trade pact with China.

Last updated: 23 Mar 2014 15:31
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Hundreds of students broke into a parliamentary building on March 18 to protest against the trade pact [EPA]

Hundreds of protesters opposed to a far-reaching trade pact with China invaded Taiwan's cabinet offices, marking a sharp escalation in a student-led movement against the island's rapidly developing ties with the communist mainland.

An Associated Press photographer outside the offices estimated the crowd on Sunday to number about 800.

Taiwanese television stations showed scenes of protesters pushing and shoving police in the area.

Sunday's action came five days after protesters, the majority of whom were students, occupied parliament after a ruling party politician reneged on a promise to submit the pact for detailed legislative review.

Signed in June by representatives from Taipei and Beijing, the pact is still awaiting ratification by Taiwan's parliament. It would open dozens of service sector industries in each side's territory to companies from the other.

Since the protests began, they have attracted tens of thousands of supporters to the area around parliament, in the sternest test so far for President Ma Ying-jeou's six-year effort to bring Taiwan's economy closer to China's.

Earlier on Sunday, Ma said that going back on the pact would undermine Taiwan's economy and damage its international credibility.

Student leaders rejected Ma's claims, insisting that tying Taiwan too close to China would harm Taiwan's hard-won democratic freedoms and pave the way for China's eventual takeover of the island.

That has been the central goal of Beijing's Taiwan policy since the two sides split amid a civil war in 1949.

237

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list