The scene in front of the Executive Yuan On November 6th was indeed one to
behold. Over 400 students and professors from different universities,
gathered to show their condemnation of inappropriate police conducts and the
violation of freedom of speech which has led to civilian injury in recent
events. Their request was simple:
1. Demand a formal apology from President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Liu
Chao-shiuan for abusing human rights.
2. Urge the Director-General of the National Police Agency, Wang Cho-chiun
and the head of the National Security Bureau, Tsai Chao-ming, to stand down.
3. Request an immediate amendment of the Mass Gathering and Demonstration Act.
The students were spontaneous to form Disciplinary Patrol Units to maintain
order and tranquility, expressing their defiance through peaceful serene
protest. In order to sustain a clear focus on their cause, emblems and logos
of political parties were prohibited.
The silent protest began at 11:00am, when 200 students gathered in front of
the Executive Yuan. By 1:00pm their numbers had increased to over 400. Many
professors also turned up to show their support. The police raised warning
signs on four separate occasions, and someone opted to move the whole
processions to locations registered by the DPP, however, the offer was
unanimously turned down.
The event was initiated by a group of students and professors, and through
the internet expressed their plea of: "Protest against police violence!
Safeguard freedom and human rights!". Originally expecting around 50
participants, news of the event spread like wildfire amongst the academic
community, and by the next day over 400 showed up to help support the cause.
Apart from university students from all over Taiwan, Professors Yun Fan,
Hwa-Jen Liu, Pei-Chia Lan from the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan
University (NTU), and Assistant Professor Chen-Ling Hung from the Graduate
Institute of Journalism (NTU), Professor Guo Pei-Yi from the Institute of
Ethnology (Academia Sinica ), Professor Wu Rwei-ren from the Institute of
Taiwan History (Academia Sinica), Professor Wu Jieh-min from the Graduate
Institute of Sociology (Tsing-Hua University), former Assistant Professor Yeh
Chi-Chen from the Department of Sociology (NTU), Assistant Professor Huang
Ho-Min from the Department of Sociology (Chengchi University) were also
present on scene.
In addition to the encouragement and support given by the professors for the
student’s cause, many students also expressed their deep concerns of the
long term crisis of police using the Mass Gathering and Demonstration Act as
an excuse to disband campaigners through force and even illegal detainment,
which is a serious breach of the freedom of speech. Master's Degree 2nd year
student, Huang Gia-Pin of Graduate School for Social Transformation Studies
(Shih Hsin University) commented: "In the past few decades, Taiwan's
democracy and human rights have been relatively progressing in Asia, however,
in the few days that Chen Yun-lin visited Taiwan, we see the accumulated
democratic accomplishments being eroded away by legislative units who turn a
blind eye when it comes to human rights.”
All the important policies throughout the silent protest, were collectively
decided by all the participants on scene, implementing direct democracy. The
Executive Yuan was only willing to send a second group negotiator to 'receive'
the student representatives, which was perceived by the students as a lack
of sincerity, a weak attempt by the authorities to pacify the situation. The
students reinstated their demand of "an apology from Ma and Liu", "the
relieve from office of Director General of the NPA, and the head of the
National Security Bureau", and "an immediate amendment of the Mass
Gathering and Demonstration Act".
As the Executive Yuan refused to formally receive the student’s pleas, the
students decided to campaign overnight and prepare for a long-term approach.
Even if the demonstration were to be dispersed through force, the students
will surely regroup, "without a formal answer, we will not leave". (Translated by fallenseraph,阿翔)
Visit the original website(苦勞網) here