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June 28, 2017

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Demonstrators demand Ma to face them at noon

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- As the demonstration staged at the Legislative Yuan entered its third day, student activist Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) yesterday morning held a press conference in the Assembly Hall, demanding President Ma Ying-jeou to face and talk with protesters before noon today.

Chen said if Ma fails to respond to demonstrators, then they will take further actions. Chen also invited Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to come to the Assembly Hall at noon to visit the "peaceful and reasonable" student activists.

Student activists raised three demands, including requesting Wang to "handle" Kuomintang lawmaker Chang Ching-chung's (張慶忠) actions on March 17 regarding of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement.

Protesters also demanded that the government "reject" the service trade pact and demanded the Legislative Yuan to complete the legislation for the draft Bill on Pacts between Taiwan and China — a draft bill proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to supervise the government on signing agreements with China.

Protesters further noted that before the draft bill is completed, no negotiations with China over the Cross-Strait Trade in Goods Agreement should be held.

Chen said he will announce the protesters' further actions in the Legislative Yuan should Ma or Wang fail to reply to their demands by 12 p.m. sharp.

The student activists called the demonstration the "Sunflower Student Movement," a metaphor emphasizing light and sunshine in contrast to the "non-transparent" cross-strait service pact. Many flower shops sent thousands of sunflowers to the activists to support the demonstration. According to media reports, students from over 62 universities cross Taiwan have participated in the demonstration.

Chen yesterday morning delivered a speech to the demonstrators in the Assembly Hall, saying that sympathetic demonstrations have begun in various places across the nation. He said that as far as he knows, over 10 college professors have announced that they will encourage their students to participate in the movement and hold classes about democracy on the streets in support of the demonstration in the Legislature.

"Because this is our fight, this belongs to our future," Chen said.

The Legislative Yuan last evening issued notices to ruling party and opposition lawmakers, announcing that the Yuan Sittings on March 21 and 25 will be suspended for unspecified reasons.

A source in the Legislative Yuan was quoted by the Central News Agency as saying that 70 to 80 percent of the lawmakers' chairs, voting machines and computers as well as the machinery room of the Assembly Hall were damaged by demonstrators, noting that it will take at least a month to repair all the damage.

The source said there are at least eight operational surveillance cameras in the Assembly Hall, noting that every action taken by protesters has been recorded. The source further said that prosecutors have already started to investigate the case, adding that soon the Legislative Yuan will be requested to offer camera footage as evidence.

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