Remember the Sunflowers

A year ago the Taiwanese people stood up to their elected government and halted the passage of a controversial free trade agreement by occupying the Legislative Yuan. This act of mass civil disobedience was soon christened the Sunflower Student Movement. I was living in Taipei 台北 when it all went down and visited the protest on several nights to watch history unfold. I am not a professional photographer, political observer, nor journalist, so please excuse the poor technical quality of the images and lack of elaboration in this gallery. It is my hope that these pictures capture something of the spirit of those wild, uncertain nights when anything seemed possible.

The dawning of the Sunflower Student Movement
The dawning of the Sunflower Student Movement.
Outside the legislative building on March 19th, 2014
Outside the legislative building on March 19th, 2014.
Climbing into the yard outside the legislative building
Climbing into the yard outside the legislative building.
Crowd control on the fourth night
Crowd control on the fourth night.
High spirits on the fourth night of the occupation
High spirits on the fourth night of the occupation.
Massive crowds outside the legislative building
Massive crowds outside the legislative building.
The crowd facing the legislative building on the fourth night
The crowd facing the legislative building on the fourth night.
The ubiquitous Guy Fawkes masks
The ubiquitous Guy Fawkes masks.
Unlikely superheroes
Unlikely superheroes.
Singing songs of freedom
Singing songs of freedom.
Occupation night market
Occupation night market.
Taimei show their support for the Sunflowers
Taimei show their support for the Sunflowers.
Sunflowers and razorwire
Sunflowers and razorwire.
In fear of a black box
In fear of a black box.
The horse who dare not speak
The horse who dare not speak.
Police presence at the southern gate
Police presence at the southern gate.
Don’t become a slave
Don’t become a slave.
Charging up
Charging up.
Taking a nap before dawn
Taking a nap before dawn.

I was on location the night of the Executive Yuan occupation. Several of the photos that follow were captured late that night. I did not end up staying for the brutal crackdown that followed.

Night of the Executive Yuan occupation
Night of the Executive Yuan occupation.
Speeches at all hours
Speeches at all hours.
The police turn back
The police turn back.
Tensions rise on March 23rd, 2014
Tensions rise on March 23rd, 2014.
Alleyway occupation
Alleyway occupation.
Northern entrance of the Executive Yuan after midnight
Northern entrance of the Executive Yuan after midnight.
A tense stand-off
A tense stand-off.
An old man tells off the police shortly before the stand-off bre
An old man tells off the police shortly before the stand-off breaks.
A rabbit at the barricades
A rabbit at the barricades.
Error 404: democracy not found
Error 404: democracy not found.
Medical assistance
Medical assistance tent.
Free sausage vendor at the student protest
Free sausage vendor at the student protest.
The occupation continues
The occupation continues.
Outside the Legislative Yuan the night after the crack-down
Outside the Legislative Yuan the night after the crack-down.
In front of the legislative building
In front of the legislative building.
An air of uncertainty
An air of uncertainty.
A historic occupation
A historic occupation.

If you would like to read more about contemporary politics and social movements in Taiwan I highly recommend browsing the archives at New Bloom Magazine.

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