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June 24, 2017

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Protesters to amass on Ketagalan Blvd.

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Student activist leaders Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) yesterday called for citizens and students protesting against the controversial Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement to join an extended demonstration to be held on Ketagelan Boulevard on Sunday.

The students have occupied the Legislative Yuan for over 10 days in a protest over the manner in which Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) passed the pact and later submitted it to the Yuan Sitting.

"If the government thinks we will be discouraged and simply depart for home, if it continues to hide and ignore us, it is very much mistaken," were Lin's opening words.

Along with the support of several citizen groups, including Citizen 1985, and the Democratic Front Against Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, the students encouraged the protesters to take to the streets on March 30.

The protests will start on Ketagelan Boulevard at 1 p.m., with the goal of gathering enough people to fill the section of Zhongshan South Road running from the Legislative Yuan to the Presidential Office.

"There will be no time limit on ending this. Even though we will be returning to the Legislative Yuan around 7 p.m. on Sunday, the fight will only end when the Ma administration surrenders," said Lin.

The activists continue to hold fast to their four requests of the government. "We still call upon the Ma administration to withdraw the agreement, establish a legal supervisory system of cross-strait pacts, hold a conference with citizen representatives and that a supervisory system be passed before the pact is reviewed," said Lin.

Chen reiterated the students' change of heart regarding President Ma Ying-jeou's invitation of a meeting with one of the student representatives. "We had originally issued a friendly response to the presidential office, but it was before the cross-caucus negotiations failed to reach a conclusion. The result sheds light on the fact that Ma is still controlling the KMT legislators in secret," said Chen, who also spoke of the "violent conflicts" between riot police and unarmed protesters at the Executive Yuan last Sunday.

"These 10 days have been hard and grueling for many who wait, rain or shine, only to receive the government's irresponsible response ... we will not allow the blood and tears to be shed in vain," said Chen.

No Protest Application

"We will not be surrounding the Presidential Office," Lin clarified in the press conference when local reporters inquired about Sunday's plan. However, the students also stated frankly that they had not applied for the right to use Ketagelan Boulevard as a demonstration site, believing that "there was no such option." They had simply notified the nearest police station, the city's Zhongzheng First Precinct.

"We will win this war yet," Lin insisted.

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