The Taiwan High Court on Tuesday found 22 participants of the Sunflower student movement in 2014 not guilty of obstructing official business.
Student protesters occupied the Legislature for nearly a month in March and April 2014. They were unhappy with attempts by the then majority Kuomintang to force the passage of a controversial trade pact with China. The 22 were also found not guilty by the Taipei District Court in March last year.
A spokesperson for the high court, Chiou Jong-yi said however that Tuesday’s verdict was different from the district court’s. Chiou said, "The district court found the defendants not guilty on grounds of right of resistance or civil disobedience. However, the high court said the prosecutors did not charge the defendants on occupation of the Legislature but on their speech, whether it carried any form of incitement, obstruction of official duties, insult to the government or violation of the Assembly and Parade Act. Since there was no charge on the occupation of the Legislature, then it is not an issue of civil disobedience or right of resistance."
Present at the verdict was Huang Kuo-chang, a lawmaker from the New Power Party that formed out of the Sunflower movement. Huang said the high court’s verdict holds significance for the future development of Taiwan’s politics.