Ma's speech from yesterday in English
UPDATE 3: Video of police clearing protesters
Once again, English feeds and links
UPDATE 2: A-gu rips the Ma government on his awesome blog
UPDATE 1 Student response:
In response to the continuing developments at the Executive Yuan, we release the following joint statement between the student occupiers of the Legislative Yuan and the Executive Yuan:
“Under orders from President Ma Ying-jeou, thousands of riot police have started violently dispersing our peaceful occupation of the Executive Yuan. Hundreds of Taiwanese citizens – mostly students - have emerged from police lines beaten and bloody. Dozens more have been sent to emergency rooms around the city.
We shed tears for our comrades, the strong and the brave that had the audacity and the courage to stand up for their country against overwhelming odds. Against a broken system, a president that has lost any semblance of credibility, a president willing to use violent force to break up a peaceful gathering of citizens, we stand for democracy, for hope, and for Taiwan.
These are Taiwan’s future generation that you are beating. A generation of hope, not of broken bones to emerge limping and bleeding due to police treatment. Some of them, as one person declared before the cameras, are the children of the very own police officers you sent to violently suppress them. Some of them could have been your own children.
Our message to President Ma is this: We will not waver. Against an undemocratic and autocratic government, we stand strong and we stand united. We demand that:
1. 1. President Ma apologize and Premier Jiang Yi-huah to step down for their role in the crisis
2. 2. The Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement be sent back
3. 3. Cross-strait agreements not to be negotiated or signed pending the passage of a monitoring mechanism for such agreements.”
The occupation of the Executive Yuan was really stupid. The police responded with violence, as we all feared last night before I went to bed. J Michael Cole in The Diplomat:
With no sign of a resolution in sight, a group of protesters slipped past security at the Executive Yuan, the seat of the Cabinet, at 7:35 p.m. on March 23. Immediately the group inside the legislature distanced itself from the action in a press release, though from the leadership on the ground it was obvious that they belonged to the alliance. By 8:30 p.m., a few thousand people were occupying the compound. Following a brief standoff with police, protesters broke into the building through the main door or by climbing ladders to upper windows. Aside from damage to the main doors and two broken windows, there were no other signs of damage to the building. Several thousand people also gathered on Zhongxiao Road in front of the building.
Although police authorities had not acted on orders to evict the activists from the legislature — relations have in fact been rather cordial, with protesters often applauding and thanking law enforcement — Sunday’s occupation of the Executive Yuan was a major escalation, and soon there was chatter that police would intervene. The Cabinet gave the order at 10:30 p.m. and told police to do everything necessary to evict the occupiers by 11 p.m. In response, the Democratic Front Against Cross Strait Trade In Services, one of the groups orchestrating the occupation at the legislature, issued a press release, in which it called on the authorities, “to not use violence to suppress the protesters.” It also called on the government “to not release emergency orders and to not mobilize the armed forces.”
As hundreds of police with shields and batons formed a line in front of the Executive Yuan, an even larger contingent of riot police, flanked by truck-mounted water cannons, faced off with protesters behind the building on Beiping Road. At about midnight, the order was given to rid the area of protesters. About 200 riot police, armed with shields and batons, descended on the protesters as the latter were about to sit down and shouted “please don’t use force against us.” At one side, a young woman, crying, called out to her boyfriend who was among the protesters. Several black-clad riot police swung their batons at young protesters, while police used their PVC shields to hit sitting protesters on the legs. Several dozens of protesters were eventually taken out — oftentimes shoved violently and dragged around — while police pushed out of the area. Protesters complained that the riot police had masked their badge numbers. Journalists who identified themselves as such and showed identification were also ordered to leave.
Cole believes as I do that the EY undermined the Occupation's public image but thinks the police attack on the protesters will offset the damage. However, the media will blame the protesters, and many in the public will likely follow suit. This will likely be a net harm to the cause.
J Michael also said that there was little damage to the EY but other reports I heard and from what was on the feeds suggest otherwise. Apparently Premier Jiang's office was ransacked and from other offices computers and such were carried out. However, those reports have not been confirmed by media on the ground. Further, there's a report circulating that the leader of the entrance into the EY building was the son of a local KMT politician. I'm discounting that, it smells fake to me. However, bear in mind that the common KMT tactic over the years is to disrupt protests using gangsters or fake protesters.
The protesters were letting themselves be carted away passively. The beatings were totally unnecessary. 56 in hospital according to local media reports. The report of a death seems false.
This was just stupid in every way. The EY occupiers were idiots. Fortunately LY people are still there and managed to put a little distance between them and EY fools.
Also, my friend Drew asks: Where is Hau Long-bin, Mayor of Taipei? It's his city....
Images: ETTODAY, Apple Daily Facebook page
"Our Democracy Must Not Die" Benedict Young
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