02/13/2015, 00.00
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Taiwan, the government put under investigation the leaders of the Movement of sunflowers

by Xin Yage
The student group held in check the government with a long popular protests that led to the cancellation of an agreement with the Chinese mainland. Now the judges open a case against 119 boys, for charges ranging from occupation illegal instigation of criminal activity. After protests, the Nationalist Party government lost the election.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - The government of Taiwan has opened an investigation against 119 students, "guilty" of fomenting a prolonged occupation of Parliament from 18 March to 10 April last year to persuade the government to cancel an agreement with mainland China. The long and impressive youth protest was called "the Sunflower Student Movement " (太陽花 學運) and  achieved its goal. The charges include incitement to criminal activity, occupation of private property, resisting police and violation of the law on public demonstrations.

The group under charges includes the two leaders of the protest, Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳 為 廷), accused of inciting all other students  to occupy Parliament. The two students placed themselves "at the disposal of the police" and said they "want to cooperate with the investigation." Lin is currently busy with his military service. The same charges have been leveled at 20 other students, while the remaining 91 are being charged with an attempt to occupy - during their protest - the government palace.

The results of the protests were apparent in the last municipal elections (29 November 2014) when the government line and the Nationalist Party KMT (國民黨) suffered a severe defeat in almost the entire island.

Many people wonder why only the students are under investigation and not the police, despite many protests against the level of violence used against the students. "We do not understand the logic of the investigation - says a group of students interviewed in a secondary school in Taipei - if those who led the protest represented the wishes of the majority of the population in Taiwan, as later seen in the elections, why is the government only being tough only them and not with those who gave way to violence to quell public discontent? ".

Others support the reasons for the protest but not the methods used: "Elections are a democratic way, and in fact show the desires of the people, the occupation of a public space cannot be justified. The reasons behind a protest are important but also how that protest is conducted. Besides, those who are under investigation expected it".

A teacher, Mr. Wu (吳 老師), however, emphasizes the value of the sunflowers movement: "It is only right that there be an inquiry, but we must recognize that the movement has highlighted all the shortcomings of the government line. A democratic government cannot decide alone . People have the right of expression, even within just limits. It must be remembered that this fed into a strong awareness by the 'umbrella' movement in Hong Kong. These movements are more connected than we think".

The Sunflowers Movement demanded a review of the trade agreement with mainland China (Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, 两岸 服务 贸易 协议), as well as a popular vote on every article of the new agreement. Those who were present at the protests or followed in the media, heard the familiar slogan "Withdraw the trade pact" (撤回 服 貿!).

Through extensive participation in the protest these goals were achieved, along with a greater awareness throughout the island that the economic policies of the KMT serve the interests of big corporations more than the social well-being of the most disadvantaged social classes and young people who face the world of work and want to build a future.


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