Daily Bloom is the shortform blog of New Bloom, covering breaking news events as they occur in real-time.
After last night’s rally, the occupation encampment was in fairly high spirits with new artworks added to the site and several informal musical performances that happened throughout the day. But although Storm Media reported in the afternoon that student occupiers were planning on withdrawing at 6 PM before this report was later retracted after a press conference, for those attentive on-site, it would seem that the decision to withdraw had been already made given that there were no preparations being made to weather the oncoming typhoon.
Taipei mayor Ko Wen-Je made a surprise appearance shortly after six PM. Although on site for little more than fifteen minutes, Ko delivered a speech advising students to keep the site clean, explaining that high schools would be allowed to chose on an individual basis what textbook to use, and that students could take the process of democratic discussion about textbooks back to their high schools. Although none of this was particularly new information, this was probably Ko’s way of getting in the last word before the students withdrew later that night.
A mourning ceremony for Lin Kuanhua was held from 6:30 to 8:00. Notably, many students who had known Lin, and who had been on-site for the duration of the occupation, broke down in tears during this. The ceremony also included musical performances and speeches by teachers, as well as the reading of a letter by Lin’s mother and an essay by Lin himself.
Students announced that they would be withdrawing at 8 PM, stating that their demands had been partially met with the decision that high schools could decide what textbook to use, and that they would continue the struggle at their respective high schoolers. Students stated that they were exhausted and that safety was also a concern, given the approach of Typhoon Soudelor. Students then thanked supporters and bowed, beginning the work of dismantling the encampment after.
Though this, of course, marks the end of the occupation itself, certainly, the movement is far from finished. However, what we might beware of at this time is that charges may be filed against student occupiers for defacing the courtyard of the Ministry of Education and for property damage, much as charges were filed against Sunflower Movement occupiers last year for damages caused to the Legislative Yuan. And what remains to be seen is what the next step of the movement will be.
Author: Brian Hioe
Photo Credit: Brian Hioe
Biography: Brian Hioe (丘琦欣) is an M.A. student at Columbia University, a freelance writer on politics and social activism, and an occasional translator. He is a resident of Taipei, Taiwan.