A little over 3 months ago, on March 23, 2014, students stormed and occupied the Taiwan Executive Yuan. Police forces stood guard around the building and eventually riot police and water cannons were used to evict these students. For a country that is usually peaceful and quiet, the citizens was shocked with the violence of that night.
Many students have given their accounts of that night, but we were able to get the story from the other side. Our storyteller was able to write down short memos on his phone as incidents happened and recounted it to us. Because he is still serving in the army at this time, we are keeping our storyteller’s identity anonymous. Read along to see how the night unraveled from the point of view of a policeman…
Despite my attempts to calm my mind, the faces I saw yesterday
in front of the Executive Yuan are still so memorable. I wouldn’t
expect when I woke up the next day, Taiwan would no longer be the same.
Friends, please witness with me.
I was in the back of a barbed-wired vehicle resting. All of a sudden,
I heard countless screams. I sat up straight and looked out the
window. More than ten students fled in a S shape from both the left
and right main gates of the Executive Yuan. Some students in the
back were knocked down by police. Police yelled to threaten them, and
some fugitives yelled back, or tried their best.
More than fifty people continued entering the plaza from the two
main gates of the Executive Yuan. They surmounted the police force
and reached the front entrance to the Executive Yuan building. They
sat down shortly after and started chanting “Revoke CSSTA (Cross-
Strait Service Trade Agreement)”, “Sit”
Media photographers, along with some video photographers from the
student body, entered the Executive Yuan.
More than ten police officers holding shields came to support. They
blocked the entrance of the Executive Yuan building while the number of
protestors sitting in exceeded 50.
Number of protestors sitting in grew above 150. Barbed-wired
vehicles drove separately toward both directions to the left and to the
right, using their wires to prevent students from entering Executive
Yuan. The vehicle on the right side, perhaps due to unsuccessful fixture
to the cheval-de-frise, somehow failed to extend the wire. They
retried manually. Ten plus unidentifiable personnel violently pulled
the wire to the sides with bare hands, destroying the barrier.
Barbed wires were destroyed. Batches of students entered the
Executive Yuan. Whenever they broke police defense in the front, sit-in
students cheered. They orderly sat in front of the entrance to chant
their slogans. Number of protestors sitting in raised to more than 300,
taking up all the spaces in the hallway in front of the building
entrance. Some sat on the cement ground plaza.
Some unidentifiable personnel brought ladders into the Executive
Yuan Plaza. They were caught by the police. Their ladders
were seized and stored at a nearby precinct office. There were also
personnel who brought ladders from the garden beside the Executive
Yuan. They placed the ladders over the wall, and used it to enter the
VIP lounge inside the building. Some personnel climbed over barbed-
wired vehicles to enter the second floor of the building.
Number of protestors sitting in rose to over 800. Medical teams came
in, setting up temporary first aid stations. Some doctors trying to
move from the front door to the back door were stopped by the
police. Doctors were later let go after shouting “I AM A DOCTOR.
THERE ARE PEOPLE INJURED.” Some students entered the plaza
holding long metal sticks (which later proved to be parts of the
scaffold next to the Executive Yuan front gate, instead of weapons)
Huge number of police force moved in the Executive Yuan.
Approximately three squads were dispatched on the front-
entrance plaza. Students put blankets over the barbed wires.
Number of sitting-ins were about to surpass 1000. Students orderly
sat in the plaza. There were cheerleaders leading students, chanting
slogans, and using speakers to solidate their determination. They even led
students to express gratitude to the police.
I chatted with female students sitting in front of me,
who appeared to be first- or second-year college students.
“Don’t you need to go to school?” “Yes we do.” “So why are you still
here. Won’t you feel tired?” “No.” “Yeah, it’s worth it.”
Until now, I had been on the left wing of the Executive Yuan, sitting in
front of the sit-in crowds. Students were all very calm and
rational. Some cheerleaders even joked with the student crowds.
(I was instructed by my supervisor to stand by in the restaurant close
to Executive Yuan back door)
Abundant police forces, roughly ten squads stood by at the back
door. One SWAT team was on hold ,standby in the restaurant
Commander came to his final position by the window on the
commander truck. Students sitting in at the back door yelled to the
media, “Record it.” “Reporter, Videotape it!”
Commander ordered to expelled photographers.
Police forcifully besieged the photographers, pushing them out of the
back door of Executive Yuan. Commander soon after told the
students “It’s very late now. You students should go
home.” “Your behaviours are against law, we will initiate forced
eviction.” “Those who want to leave should stand up now and leave.”
No student left. A water cannon truck drove into the back door of
Commander ordered forced eviction. Swat team police jumped into
the sit-in crowds with shields and batons. Screaming, shouting, and
crying were all heard. Commander kept ordering other squads to join
Students were pushed, dragged, or cast away by the police, until
they were evicted to the passage toward the rear gate. Most students
fell on the way, while some police shouted “Stand up on your own!”
Some students cried back “Police Violence!” “You let go and I will
Lawyers in favour of the students entered the rear gate, helped fallen
students up, and pacified those who were in shock and anger. A guy
in grey jacket crashed his head and it kept bleeding. Many students
argued loudly to the police on their way out of the gate, “Is this
Taiwan?” “Do you still remember Democracy and Freedom?” “Why
would Taiwanese beat Taiwanese?” “Shit Police. Fuck your
mom.” “Why would you do this?” “Revoke CSSTA!” “Police beat
A number of students fell on the street, unable to walk out from the
rear door. Flustered lawyers requested assistance to call for
ambulance. Police at scene ignored the request. Lawyer
said, “Where is your squad leader？Commander at scene? Just one
single request: let the ambulance in!”
Commander continued ordering eviction. More and more
students carried out by the police。Some students held their belly,
showing great pain. Some female students collapsed and cried
aloud. There were male students with long-hair seen with wounds on their
faces. Almost every student cried angrily to the police on their way to
the rear gate, “Revoke CSSTA!” “Police Violence!”
(Each of the time mentioned above can be confirmed by photo or
video footage. Time was recorded automatically by mobile phone.
Due to my current sensitive occupation, I am not able to upload those
photos and videos.)
(Please pay particular attention to my choice of words
between “students” and ” unidentifiable personnel”. There are things
I don’t feel comfortable revealing publicly, such as incidents
involving “ladders” and “barbed-wired vehicles” To ensure validity, I
would stop here without further explanation or interpretation.)
I feel bad. I stood behind them, yet there was nothing I could do. I
hate that I didn’t know what I should have done to stop the violence
seen through my eyes. I could only witness, shiver, and calmly
record all these.
If only people could see the truth, your devotion and sacrifice would