Lawmakers camped outside Taiwan Presidential Office for hunger strike

Secretary-General to the president tried in vain to dissuade the lawmakers from continuing their protest

Secretary-General to the President Joseph Wu (吳釗燮)

Secretary-General to the President Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Secretary-General to the President Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Saturday morning showed up at the plaza in front of the Presidential Office building where the lawmakers from the New Power Party (NPP) had camped and tried to dissuade them from continuing the protest against the revisions to the labor law, but the deadlock remained as both sides could not reach any agreement.

Five lawmakers from the NPP, including the party's executive chairman, Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), started a hunger strike in front of the office on Friday evening, asking the government to withdraw the amendment of the Labor Standards Act and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to address to the discontent of workers.

A couple of hundred police officers were deployed on site. They had reportedly signaled warnings four times until dawn Saturday and tried to tear down the tent of the protesters. So far, they have not taken action to clear the protesters.

Wu told the lawmakers that he had been asked by the president to come and send her regards. The president is said to have had a trip outside of the capital on her schedule for Saturday.

Wu said now that the amendment was scheduled for negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties and the public had received the messages of the NPP via media coverage of the demonstration, he hoped the lawmakers could return home and express their opinion later at the Legislative Yuan.

Wu added the ruling party was as much concerned with the rights of workers as the opposition parties, and that both sides wanted to reach an arrangement that would be best for workers.

However, the NPP lawmakers did not agree to end the protest. Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) told the media they would stay as long as they could even when the provisional session of the Legislative Yuan would begin on January 8 during which the amendment would be the center of discussion.

Hsu said the party would not rule out the possibility to have lawmakers take turns to camp outside the office and to attend the provisional session.