Taiwan cabinet demands S$0.12 million in compensation from protesters

Taiwan cabinet demands S$0.12 million in compensation from protesters
A protester sleeps inside Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, Taiwan's parliament, during protest to oppose the controversial trade pact with mainland China, in Taipei April 5, 2014.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Executive Yuan will be filing for civil compensation of NT$3 million from the protesters that barged into the Executive Yuan on March 23, Cabinet spokesman Su Li-chun said yesterday.

Activists protesting against the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement broke through barricades and entered the Executive Yuan by force, causing damages including the torn-down front door of the main building. According to Sun, four wooden doors, 13 windows and a number of desks, chairs and electronic equipment were damaged and would cost approximately NT$3 million to repair.

Police finished making reports regarding the break-ins on March 24 and prosecutors have been summoning participants for questioning over recent weeks, said Sun, who pointed out that the Executive Yuan will be asking for compensation after the prosecution concludes its investigations.

As for the Executive Yuan's decision to take the case to court, Sun said the Cabinet had no intention of withdrawing its lawsuit. When asked by local media about the possibility of industries volunteering to pay compensation, Sun replied that the Cabinet has not considered that option yet.

Assemble Before Departure: Student Leader

The students occupying the Legislature will hold a large-scale assembly before leaving the main building today, student activist leader Chen Wei-ting said yesterday. The protesters held forums in the streets surrounding the Legislature last night to review their three-week-long demonstrations and to discuss and broaden their next steps.

The assembly will be on one of the streets running along the Legislature buildings, but the route of their departure is not yet determined, said Chen. "Tomorrow (today) is not a 'period,' but a 'comma.' The power of our movement is still strong. We will also be discussing (the possibilities) of bringing the demonstration into different lawmakers' districts," Chen remarked.

The future protests will gather demonstrators from the Internet and from interested locals when the movement is brought to locations outside Taipei, said Chen.

Chen reiterated his suggestion to take to the streets once more or to surround the Presidential Office if the Legislature ultimately passes the Executive Yuan's version of a supervisory law concerning cross-strait pacts. "We will continue to push for the citizens' version to be adopted and passed," said Chen.

Activists Deny Calls for Repair Fee Donations

Many supporters of the student-led demonstrators started fundraising on social media websites after the student leaders announced the date of their departure from the Legislature. However, the Democratic Front Against Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement leaders noted that the protesters had not called for such donations.

When the protests began, citizen groups placed donation boxes at each street intersection around the Legislative Yuan. Donations made throughout the course of the sit-ins were sufficient and the groups will be releasing the list of donators soon.

According to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), the fundraising activities made in the name of the protests are only legitimate if the donators have followed the Political Donations Act. The student-led protests are of a political nature, explained the MOI, and the donators should be limited to political parties and political groups, officials said.

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