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July 28, 2017

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Executive Yuan protest leader released without bail

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei District Court early this morning ruled that student activist Dennis Wei (魏揚), who claimed to be the leader of the group of students that stormed the Executive Yuan on Sunday night, could be released without bail.

The detention court session was held at 8:30 p.m. last night. Over 30 college students gathered in front of the Taipei District Court in support of Wei. According to the Central News Agency, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei mayoral hopeful Wellington Ku (顧立雄) volunteered to be one of Wei's attorneys.

Over 2,000 student activists stormed the Executive Yuan at around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday in protest of President Ma Ying-jeou's "off-the-point" press conference responding to demonstrators' demands.

Wei, a member of the student movement group "Black Island Nation Youth Front" (黑色島國青年陣線), arrived at the Cabinet compound after the majority of the protesters and claimed to be the leader of the "occupy the Executive Yuan" demonstration. He was arrested by police over six allegations, including obstructing official operations and inciting other people to commit offenses.

Student activist Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) held a press conference yesterday afternoon in the Assembly Hall of the Legislature, where he defend Wei, saying Wei claimed that he was the leader of the movement merely because he wanted to control the messy situation at the Executive Yuan.

Wei is not the leader of the "occupy the Executive Yuan" movement, Lin said.

Lin said Wei tried to avoid escalating tensions among demonstrators, and yet was arrested by police. Lin lashed out at the premier, saying history will remember that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) violently evicted the unarmed students.

During the press conference, student activist Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) became emotional, saying that he has known Wei for over five years. Chen noted that he could not imagine Wei spending the night in the detention center.

Chen went on to say that he does not understand why the public has such high tolerance for the people who hold power and suppress people who have no power and only want to speak the truth. "What kind of society is that?" Chen asked.

When asked by The China Post if there is any possibility for the student activists to discuss the details of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement with the premier, Lin said the government has to reject the pact first, and only then can a discussion regarding how to draft a new agreement be held.

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