Youth groups on Wednesday vowed to "protest to the end" over the government's plan to cut seven national holidays in a draft amendment to the Labor Standards Act.
About 20 members of the Anti-commercialization of Education Alliance and other youth groups stormed into the 10th floor of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) building at about 12:20 p.m, demanding a response from President Tsai Ing-wen (???), who serves concurrently as chairperson of the DPP.
The protesters said that as Tsai was scheduled to attend a DPP Central Standing Committee meeting in the afternoon, they had come to face the president in person.
At 12:50 p.m, the students tried to access a hallway connecting the ninth and 10th floors, where the meeting was set to take place. A glass door separated the two floors.
The first clashes between police and students broke out at the doorway. After initial scuffles, some students staged a sit-in, insisting they would not move until they received a response from President Tsai.
Clashes broke out again at 1:10 p.m. when students tried to open the glass door, shouting for police to leave and President Tsai to come out and face them.
After a standoff that lasted about 10 minutes, the students withdrew from the 10th floor lobby, but vowed to "protest to the end" if Tsai refuses to revoke the decision to cancel the seven national holidays.
The students issued a final appeal to the media on the first floor of the building before voluntarily dispersing, claiming that eliminating the seven national holidays would only exacerbate the deteriorating working conditions faced by young people.
However, they said that at the instruction of President Tsai, the executive and legislative branches have worked together on the amendment which is likely to be passed by the Legislative Yuan on Nov. 8.
President Tsai was later quoted as saying at the DPP Central Standing Committee meeting that no matter how difficult or how much pressure, she hopes the party will "not to lose patience and maintain its sense of direction during the process."
On Oct. 5, the DPP-controlled Legislative Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee pushed through a draft amendment to the Labor Standards Act, which reduces the number of national holidays from 19 to 12 and implements a five-day workweek with one mandatory day off and one "flexible rest day.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel