Taiwan people take to streets over service pact
Updated: 2014-03-30 20:15
TAIPEI -- Thousands of people on Sunday afternoon flocked to streets in Taipei in protest against a cross-Straits service trade pact.
Dressed in black shirts, many students and members of the public joined a sit-in at Ketagalan Boulevard, where the Taiwan leader's office is located, and its nearby streets.
The demonstration has so far been peaceful, as protesters listened to speeches and chanted slogans demanding the withdrawal of the pact.
At the nearby Taipei Train Station, another group of people continued their rally to call for social stability and urged students to leave the legislative building so it could resume its work.
Infuriated by what they see as undemocratic tactics used by the ruling Kuomintang party to ratify the pact, hundreds of students stormed into the chamber of Taiwan's legislative authority on March 18 and have occupied the site ever since.
Student leaders called for more Taiwanese to join them as they had failed to reach an agreement with the authority on ending the deadlock. The students have issued demands including rejecting the pact, passing a law to monitor future cross-Straits agreements and convening a "citizen constitutional meeting".
On Saturday, Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou agreed on the clause-by-clause review of the service pact and legalizing scrutiny of future cross-Straits pacts. He however opposed the dismissal of the agreement, saying it would hurt Taiwan's economy.