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Taiwanese students storm parliament building over trade pact

A group of students in Taiwan has occupied the country's parliament building in the capital, Taipei. The act of protest is in response to government plans of a trade agreement with China.

Around 200 students stormed the parliament building in the Taiwanese capital on Wednesday, breaking through security checkpoints and barricading the entrances with furniture. This blocked police from entering the main chamber of the parliament building.

The students' move is in protest of plans made by the governing Kuomintang party to pass a trade agreement with China. The students are calling for a clause-by-clause review of the deal.

Some analysts think the deal could be harmful to small business in Taiwan. They worry it could expose Taiwan to excessive Chinese influence, and that the government is not being upfront about the downsides of the deal.

On Monday, the pact cleared its first hurdle after obtaining approval from a joint committee. The students' occupation of the parliament building is designed to block parliamentary debate on the matter, which had been scheduled for Friday. The students have vowed to remain in the parliament building until then.

The trade pact would see the two countries open up new service sectors to each other.

mz/kms (AFP, dpa)