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Taiwan police clash with students in protests over trade deal

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Story highlights

Riot police disperse protesters who stormed Taiwan's executive building

Student protesters occupying government buildings call for controversial trade deal to be scrapped

Taiwan's president defends the pact as beneficial to the economy

Protesters call on universities to hold strikes until demands are met

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CNN —  

Riot police evicted scores of protesters from Taiwan’s executive building early Monday morning as rallies over a controversial trade deal between Taiwan and mainland China entered their seventh day.

Hundreds of protesters stormed the Executive Yuan in Taipei on Sunday evening, shortly after Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou dismissed protesters’ demands to scrap a service trade agreement with China. Opponents of the deal say it could harm Taiwan’s economy, democratic system and national security.

Police used high-pressure water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, who were mostly university students.

Students and officers face off outside the Legislative Yuan.
Courtesy Yen Ting Lin
Students and officers face off outside the Legislative Yuan.

Meanwhile, other protesters continue their sit-in at the nearby legislature building, where they have been since March 18.

“We are tired, very tired. But we will continue on for democracy,” a spokesperson for the movement, Lin Fei-fan told CNN on Monday.

“We have been protesting for seven days now. After last night’s violence we are shaken,” he said.

Lin estimated there were up to 200 protesters inside the Legislative Yuan’s main assembly hall Monday, with more outside the building.

“Last night many students were injured and bloodied, some got concussions and bone fractures,” he said.

According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, at least 137 people, including protesters, police and journalists, have been hospitalized since the rallies began last week. Most had minor injuries.

Taiwan’s premier Jiang Yi-huah said some 61 people were arrested for breaking into the executive building, including 35 who were still being questioned as of Monday morning, CNA