Protestors invade Taiwan Cabinet offices

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Protestors invade Taiwan Cabinet offices
A protester wearing a banner reading "Anti Black Box" joins a rally against a trade pact with China, outside the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, March 23, 2014. Opponents of a trade pact with China have demonstrated in and around Taiwan's legislature since Tuesday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Student protesters against a China Taiwan trade pact hold banners reading "Trade Pact Acting Foolishly, People Angry" in support of Taiwan as they surround the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Student protesters hold banners reading "Trade Pact Acting Foolishly. People Angry" in a rally against a China Taiwan trade pact, as they surround the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Student protesters against a China Taiwan trade pact hold banners reading "Turn Back Trade Pact. Protect Democracy" in support of Taiwan as they surround the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Student protesters who are against a China Taiwan trade pact shout slogans in support of Taiwan as they surround the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Thousands of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate for the third day in and around Taiwan's legislature Friday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Two student protesters wearing banners reading "Protect Democracy" rest in a rally against a trade pact with China, outside the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, March 23, 2014. Opponents of a trade pact with China have demonstrated in and around Taiwan's legislature since Tuesday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Lin Fei-fen, one of protest leaders, left, delivers a speech outside the legislature in a rally against a trade pact with China, in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, March 23, 2014. Opponents of a trade pact with China have demonstrated in and around Taiwan's legislature since Tuesday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
A woman holds a banner which reads "Anti Black Box. Turn Back Trade Pact. Taiwan Go Go Go." in support of Taiwan as the demonstrators surround the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, March 23, 2014. Opponents of a trade pact with China have demonstrated in and around Taiwan's legislature since Tuesday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Demonstrators sit together to surround the legislature as they protest against a trade pact with China, in support of Taiwan in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The banner reads " Protect Democracy. Turn Back Trade Pact ". Opponents of a trade pact with China have demonstrated in and around Taiwan's legislature since Tuesday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Taiwan Premier Jiang Yi-huah talks to student protesters who are against a China Taiwan trade pact in support of Taiwan, outside the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Thousands of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate for the third day in and around Taiwan's legislature Friday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
An organizer tries to control the crowd of student protesters against a China Taiwan trade pact as they swarm around the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, March 21, 2014. Thousands of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate for the third day in and around Taiwan's legislature Friday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Pedestrians pass by as police install barricades to block anti-China protesters from moving towards the Presidential Building in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, March 21, 2014. Thousands of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate for the third day in and around Taiwan's legislature Friday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Protesters, young and old, against a China Taiwan trade pact come to show support by surrounding the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, March 21, 2014. Thousands of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate for the third day in and around Taiwan's legislature Friday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Police block a cross walk as they install barricades to block anti-China protesters in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, March 21, 2014. Thousands of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate for the third day in and around Taiwan's legislature Friday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Student protesters against a China Taiwan trade pact peak out from behind a cartoon character of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou hung on the occupied legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, March 21, 2014. Thousands of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate for the third day in and around Taiwan's legislature Friday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
A student protester against a China Taiwan trade pact applauds during speeches as thousands surround the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, March 21, 2014. Thousands of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate for the third day in and around Taiwan's legislature Friday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Student protesters against a China Taiwan trade pact hold banners in support of Taiwan as they surround the legislature in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, March 21, 2014. Thousands of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate for the third day in and around Taiwan's legislature Friday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Students protesting against a China Taiwan trade pact occupy the legislature floor, in Taipei, Taiwan, Thursday, March 20, 2014. Hundreds of opponents of a trade pact with China continued to demonstrate in and around Taiwan's legislature Thursday, in the most serious challenge to date to President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of moving the democratic island of 23 million people economically closer to Communist China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Hundreds of protesters opposed to a far-reaching trade pact with China invaded Taiwan's Cabinet offices Sunday, marking a sharp escalation in a student-led movement against the island's rapidly developing ties with the communist mainland.

An Associated Press photographer outside the offices estimated the crowd at about 800. Taiwanese television stations showed scenes of protesters pushing and shoving with police in the area.

Sunday's Cabinet action came five days after mainly student protesters occupied the nearby legislature after a ruling party lawmaker reneged on a promise to submit the pact to detailed legislative review.

Signed in June by representatives from Taipei and Beijing, the pact is still awaiting ratification by Taiwan's legislature. It would open dozens of service sector industries in each side's territory to companies from the other.

Since the protests began, they have attracted tens of thousands of supporters to the area around the legislature, in the sternest test so far for President Ma Ying-jeou's six-year effort to bring Taiwan's economy ever closer to China's.

Earlier Sunday, Ma said that going back on the pact would undermine Taiwan's economy and damage its international credibility.

Student leaders rejected Ma's contentions, insisting that tying Taiwan too close to China would harm Taiwan's hard-won democratic freedoms and pave the way for China's eventual takeover of the island. That has been the central goal of Beijing's Taiwan policy since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949.
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