Student protesters end 24-day occupation of Taiwan's Parliament





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Published on Apr 11, 2014

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Taiwan's sunflower protest finally came to an end yesterday when student protesters vacated Taiwan's parliament.

The Sunflower movement started on March 18 when the hundreds of students occupied the legislature to protest against the government's proposed trade deal with China that was handled un-transparently.

The standoff between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the protesters lasted an unprecedented period of 24 days, the longest of Taiwan's history of social movements.

Riot police clashed with the protesters on March 24th, which outraged Taiwanese society and led to a 500,000 person rally on Ketagalan Boulevard (凱達格蘭大道) in front of the Presidential Office on March 30th.

The Sunflower movement raised Taiwanese awareness of the trade deal, leading to a national debate over whether the country is willing to open its market further with China.

After Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) promise Sunday to enact a law regulating the trade pact before resuming the process of deliberating the cross-strait service trade pact, the protesters finally agreed to hand back parliament.

For the past three weeks, young protesters had expressed vibrant artistic creativity and took advantage of technology to start a protest relay with other Taiwanese students in 49 cities of 17 countries. Information on the protest was even translated into a total of 35 languages, while netizens raised a whopping $220,000 USD to purchase a full-page advertisement in New York Times.

During the last couple days of the protests, student protesters cleaned the parliament building, winning the title of the most polite civil rights movement.


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