Video from the protesters themselves:
Taiwanese students have reacted to the passing of a trade deal with China by seizing their nation's parliament. It looks like the ruling party suspended normal legislative procedures, and rammed the trade deal through. It seems like similar stuff to what we saw Walker do in Wisconsin, and the students aren't having any of it.
They are totally nonviolent. While a group distracted police at the gates, another group scaled the undefended fence around parliament, and took the building. I have seen no evidence of any violence, though Taiwan's media is claiming otherwise. They are doing so without providing any photos or videos, though the entire event has been tweeted and streamed online. They have claimed that parliament has been ransacked or destroyed by the "irrational" protesters.
As someone who spent time in Zuccotti Park, I know how that feels.
This is what the storming of the Yuan looked like:
The occupation is entering it's third day, today. I will update soon with more information, including a detailed analysis of the reasons for this action.
The protesters are claiming the trade deal will cause a gradual erosion of Taiwanese democracy and independence and replace it with Chinese dictatorship.
11:22 AM PT: I'm trying to find out exactly what is in the trade deal, but the problem is most people don't seem to know.
That's because the deal was introduced to parliament and rammed through without democratic review, just like what Walker did with a lot of his laws in Wisconsin. The protesters see this as hugely damaging to democracy.
Police have tried to take back the Legislative Yuan at least twice, but been blocked by the barricades built by protesters.
Three cheers for capitalism and armchair journalism!
11:26 AM PT: I'm trying to find some decent economic analysis, but it seems like this trade deal will allow china to flood Taiwan with cheap goods and services which will undermine the Taiwanese economy.
That's the complaint that most people have. Depending on how well Google translate is working, it appears that the protesters were able to stop passage of the bill before the final vote, despite the attempts of the KMT to ram it through Scott Walker style.
11:39 AM PT: J. Michael Cole, a British analyst living in Taiwan, has this to say about the situation:
Taiwan’s young democracy remains imperfect and has retained several unhealthy elements of its authoritarian past. Big business, influence from authoritarian China, and corruption have in fact undermined Taiwan’s democracy in recent years. Observers of civic activism in Taiwan over the past 24 months are aware that the current administration often does not play by the rules, or makes rules that facilitate implementation of desired policies. With an executive that has disregarded public opinion, a neutralized legislature, and a disorganized opposition, civil society has had little choice but to up the ante and take measures that, though drastic, are not beyond the scope of acceptable democratic action. Their plan is not to overthrow the government (one will hear calls for such action outside the legislature, but those are minority outliers) or to obliterate government institutions; it is rather to ensure their proper functioning and to reconnect the legislature with the public that it was meant to serve.You can read his full post for University of Nottingham's China Policy Institute here.
11:43 AM PT: I've found the live stream. Attempting to embed above.
11:51 AM PT: If you can see it in the live stream, they've blocked off most of the entrances to the main chamber using chairs and tables as barricades.
It's not a very exciting feed right now (we're mostly watching them try to get some sleep) but things should get interesting later this evening, when folks start waking up.