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Labor unions urge end of sit-in at Legislature

TAIPEI--More than 100 labor unions have signed a petition urging students to end their three-week occupation of Taiwan's Legislature that was mounted to protest a trade-in-services agreement with China.

Initiated by the labor union of the state-run Taiwan Power Co. and supported by 126 unions, the petition asks the students to drop their occupation of the legislative body's main chamber and go back to school.

Taiwan cannot afford anymore friction over the issue, and it is time for society to move on, the petition said.

The unions also urged the students to be more open-minded to the services pact, arguing that “Taiwan cannot avoid opening its market.”

They also demanded that the students foot the bill for any public property they damaged during the protests, including an attempt to take over the Executive Yuan on March 23.

No taxpayer funds should be used to foot the bill for the damage, the unions said.

During the protesters attempt to occupy the Executive Yuan, they destroyed computers, furniture and other property worth about NT$3 million (US$99,000), according to the Yuan's report.

There has been no estimate of damage done to the Legislature so far.

The government has pledged to prosecute student protesters who may have committed illegal acts during the protests, including vandalism.

Prosecutors have already summoned nearly 100 people for questioning over the attempted Executive Yuan takeover, which the police prevented by forcibly removing demonstrators from the scene early on the morning of March 24.

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