- Posted March 23, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Protesters occupy Taiwan legislature
Riot Police Brutally Beat Student Demonstrators At Executive Yuan in Taipei
March 24, 2014 - Taipei, Taiwan
At approximately 2 a.m., thousands of riot police descended upon the Executive Yuan under orders from Taiwanese President Ma's administration to evict student demonstrators who had stormed into the building earlier this evening. In the process, police brutality readily became apparent, with police dragging peacefully seated student protesters to their feet only to beat them with batons. One camera captured police ruthlessly shoving the edge of a riot shield at a peacefully seated female student protester, while several others captured police delivering heavy blows to students' heads. Tens of students have been admitted to nearby hospitals for trauma and other injuries. Riot police have cleared out all media personnel prior to the start of the eviction, so as to prevent media reporting. Currently, all information on the situation is conveyed through the internet by civilians. One journalist was even beaten by the police due to his refusal to abandon reporting on the condition inside the Executive Yuan building. Water canons have also been employed to disperse the sit-in protesters as well as reports of tear gas.
The students' ongoing occupation of the Taiwanese Parliament, which has since garnered overwhelming support from the Taiwan public, has been peaceful throughout. The protests came as a response to the government's refusal to meet the students' demands with regards to the undemocratic passing of a trade agreement that brings Taiwan perilously closer to China, causing many to fear losing Taiwan's current system of democracy. After six days of protests, President Ma finally made a media appearance on March 23, 2014. To the disappointment of many, he admantly refused to denounce the undemocratic review process, and maintained that the agreement will still be passed, blatantly disregarding public opinion. A recent poll estimates that as high as 70% of the Taiwanese public would like a clause-by-clause review of the trade pact.
Issues of contention include the fact that the signing process of the original ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement) was not transparent and violated due legislative process, leading many to speculate not economic, but rather, political reasons as the true motive behind the agreement.