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Taiwan: Students Demand to Revise the Parade and Assembly Law!

About 500 students gathered peacefully in front of the Executive Yuan on 11/6 to protest against the current Parade and Assembly Law (集會遊行法). The government abusive use of the law has violated people's rights in protest in the past few days during the visit of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chair Chen Yunlin. To prevent the return of a police state, the students demanded the government to apologize and amend the law in their open statement.

baladaily explained what in the Parade and Assembly Law needs to be revised:

The current law restricts the right of citizens to peaceably assemble, by forcing them to apply for permits which the government may deny at will after reviewing the protest topic, allows the government unrestricted rights to close off large areas from protesters, and allows police to forcibly disperse protesters even if they are not violent. The students are demanding the law be revised to require the government to grant permits upon receiving an application without the current content review (“government shall grant a permit” vs. the current “government may grant a permit”), while requiring police to follow the rule of law and due process in all arrests and detentions. In other words, the law should protect the rights of protesters – not restrict them.

student1
Photo courtesy of judie.
Banner said: Revise the Parade and Assembly Law. President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan must publicly apologize to all citizens.

Seeing how this sit-in was organized, David was impressed.

I was so impressed to see the students staging such a well organised, democratic and peaceful protest. Members of NGOs held a press conference discussing to talk about problems with the Assembly Law. A student got up with a guitar and sang songs. Several university professors came in support and one gave a long speech talking about his experiences of the Assembly Law from the days of martial law and the early years of the democratic era. Donations of water and food piled up. There was also a media centre distributing information and broadcasting the protest online. One aspect of the protest was that the students maintained political neutrality. They wore black shirts and removed any partisan political symbols.

judie reported the failure of negotiation between the government and students:

經過一夜堅守後, 11月7日上午行政院派出秘書長薛香川前往溝通,現場學生陸續提問,對薛的回答感到相當不滿意,決議繼續靜坐。不久傳出下午將會遭到驅離的訊息。

After the one-night sit-in, in the morning of 7th (Nov), Steve Hsueh, the Cabinet Secretary-General, was assigned to communicate with the students. The students asked him some questions, disappointed with his answers and decided to carry on their sit-in. Later, people heard that the police was ordered to remove them in the afternoon.

baladaily described how the police took action to remove the students:

At 4PM, three large police buses pulled up in the street behind the protesters, with squads of police officers emerging. “Remember!” the organizers shouted: “No violence! It is not the fault of the police that their orders are unconstitutional! No one is wrong here. Remain peaceful! We reassemble in 2 hours at Liberty Square!”.

Sitting on the ground, the 500+ students* links hands and sang, in English, “We Shall Overcome”. As the last lines of “We are not afraid today” faded, and the crowd of police grew larger, the students chanted “和平!” (“Peace!”).

*According to another source, there were about 300 students by the time the police started to remove the students with force.

The police left, and students insisted to stay till the government gives them a satisfactory answer. Then the police moved in again and forcibly removed them again. The students began chanting “人權!” (“Human Rights!”), along with the crowd which quickly joined in.

student2
Photo courtesy of judie.

student3
Photo courtesy of judie.

After the forced removal, students gathered again:

The protesters are now reassembling at Liberty Square, welcoming anyone who is willing to join in peaceably, without political flags or placards, and without a partisan agenda. Reports indicate taxi drivers who heard of their plight are picking them up and taking them to Liberty Square for free.

Now, several similar protests are being organized by students across Taiwan:

台南的成大校門前,一群學生靜坐呼應台北的運動,已決議要繼續一直坐下去,直到馬政府正面回應為止。新竹、台中的學生正在集結。

In front of National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, some students started a sit-in to support the student protest in Taipei. They will carry on the sit-in until the government responds. Students in Hsin-Chu and Tai-Chung also started to gather together.

On 11/8, it rained in Taipei. Johnny reported:

一反昨夜近10部的SNG新聞採訪車,當場只餘兩部。一位女學生正在滂沱大雨中,清唱《美麗島》,這些坐 在濕漉漉地面的年輕朋友仍在煎熬。天氣驟變,可能只是對身體的有形考驗,執政黨和社會冷漠的回應,才是最艱困的無形試煉。

…離開廣場時,我突然有個夢:哪天這些青年也能那些美國年輕人創造歷史,讓台灣擺脫舊時代思維的政客,社會只講是非公義, 而不再分藍綠。

YES, YOU CAN!

There were ten SNG trucks yesterday, but there were only two SNG trucks today. A female student sat in the heavy rain and sang “The beautiful island.” It should be very dreadful for these young friends to sit on the wet ground, but they confronted the challenge of the terrible weather with their bodies. However, the ignorance of the ruling party and the society is the most difficult challenge for them.
…When I left the Liberty Square, a dream came to me: maybe someday these young people will create the history like what those American young people have done and let Taiwan get rid of those politicians with the old-time mindset, and our society will fight for justice without the blue and green division.

YES, YOU CAN!

student4
Photo courtesy of judie.

15 comments

  • hi

    mad props to all the students…! jia yo!

  • What exactly are the demands of the students? The Parade and Assembly law was promulgated under the authority of the government in exile Republic of China. Do the students realize that the Republic of China is a government in exile??

  • “I do not agree with a word that you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

    People who are only wear cloths with words on it does not deserved to be beaten or arrested by police. The act of brutal rule is unacceptable.

    All wish to the students.

  • I visited the protest briefly on Sunday afternoon. Kudos to the students for braving the rain. Let’s hope this movement can continue to build strength.

  • God I love Taiwan. I hope the gov’t follows the people’s opinions and is as open as possible and absolutely should not punish people for thought crimes like in China.

    Taiwan got soul, so proud of the students.

  • Here is proof (video): Chief Police Officer lied. FRU charged during Negara Ku. Please tell the world

  • sophia leu

    I am so proud of you, students!. You are the hope of future Taiwan and you do show that you are able to see the truth of the events. Great going!

  • […] Other Taiwan bloggers writing about the protests include Fili, Michael, Bala Daily, Taiwan Echo and I-fan at Global Voices. File next to:At the book fairBetel nut is bad for youBetween […]

  • S. Wu

    I was absolutely shocked by the events on the 3rd and 4th. The students revived the hope I have for my country. I went to see them last night and told them how proud I was of them. Their family and friends can give them love and money; their teachers can give them education and guidance; but I’m not sure the current politicians can guard democracy and independence for them. They need to learn quickly to gain and protect their freedom and civil rights, not just for themselves and their children, but for their grandchildren. I told them I’ll rest in peace in Heaven when I see their grandchildren still can vote for their President!

  • […] the meantime, check out coverage by GlobalVoices, which gives a good overall summary of the student protest from Taiwan blogs and an excellent translated interview of student protestors in Tainan by Taiwan blogger Michael […]

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