March 18th Sunflower Movement

Save Our Own Country Ourselves; Pass the Service Trade Agreement Today, Prepare to be Demolished Tomorrow; When Dictatorship Becomes a Reality, Revolution Becomes a Duty; We are Citizens, Not Rioters

Event description

On March 18, 2014, the occupation of Legislative Yuan was not a student movement, but rather a broader and enduring citizen movement. During the occupation, on March 23, participants in the Occupy Executive Yuan action faced severe state violence and subsequent prosecutions that have not been completely redressed to this day. The march on March 30th saw a record-breaking turnout of up to 500,000 people, making it the largest political gathering and march since the lifting of martial law. The occupation of the legislature lasted a total of 585 hours until April 10.

The previous year, many NGOs in Taiwan had formed the Anti-Black Box Service Trade Agreement Democratic Front and jointly organized events; including organizations focusing on the environment, gender, labor, human rights, democracy, local issues, students, and more. In the late stage of Ma Ying-jeou's presidency, dissenting student groups on various university campuses flourished, holding the "Riot of the Commoners: Youth Activists Empowerment Exchange Camp" during the winter break of 2014. This indicated that the civic movement and resistance communities had already accumulated a certain amount of capital in terms of protest techniques and organizational connections, laying the groundwork for the Sunflower Movement.

The response and mobilization were not limited to Taipei; they occurred throughout Taiwan. Different groups with different focuses, demands, and protest methods showcased diverse concerns and reflections on the "mainstream." Moreover, the Sunflower Movement received support from around the world, including solidarity from Ukrainian citizens who had participated in the Independence Square revolution. The naming of the Sunflower Movement, although accidental, echoed Ukraine's national flower, the sunflower, and the two countries found themselves juxtaposed in the international arena years later due to geopolitical and war risks.


Apart from blocking the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, this movement is generally considered to have influenced various aspects of party politics, democratic processes, open culture, and generational values. Because participants in the movement have played active roles in different capacities in Taiwan's political arena, the impact it has caused continues to be a subject of discussion.

Participating Organizations

Reference books