One of the challenges that occupiers had to sustain through the duration of the occupation was the inhospitality of the inside of the Legislative Yuan, particularly seeing as students only ever controlled the legislative assembly chamber and not the entirety of the building. Security challenges were present, in that the eight doors of the Legislative Yuan needed to be watched throughout for signs of attempts by police to break them down, as crucial choke points. But the security team of the Legislative Yuan even included former special forces within it.
The main access point students had to the Legislative Yuan, through a ladder from the second floor of the assembly chambers which served as a path outside through a window, also had to be watched, in order to prevent contact from the outside world from being cut off and to control the flow of people in and out of the Legislative Yuan. When volunteers were allowed inside the Legislative Yuan, they were required to spend a full 24 hours inside the building, in order to allow people to enter and experience the occupation, but also prevent there from being too much traffic in and out of the building to be disruptive.
Photo credit: Kevin-WY/Flickr/CC
As strong public backlash followed from a window being broken on the initial night of the occupation, perhaps reflecting conservative values in Taiwanese society regarding disruption to the authorities, this window was the main access point for students to the outside world for the entirety of the occupation. Had anyone fallen from this ladder climbing up to enter the Legislative Yuan, this could have resulted in serious injury or even death. Many view the residents of the second floor of the Legislative Yuan, who managed this crucial access point, as among the hardest workers of the Legislative Yuan occupation. Second floor occupiers were their own force within the occupation, however, sometimes expressing disagreement with the central leadership of the occupation particularly when it came to the eventual decision to withdraw from the Legislative Yuan.
Likewise, issues with heat and air circulation were constant throughout, and there was no natural lighting, as a result of which day blended into night in the Legislative Yuan. Initially, police also did not allow students to use the restrooms within the Legislative Yuan, before anger from protesters outside forced them to relent. Students also made a makeshift ventilation shaft within the Legislative Yuan. As such, it was very difficult for occupiers get rest within the Legislative Yuan. Occupiers also could not shower or clean themselves, leading to issues with personal hygiene in the legislature despite donations of dry body wash, though this was also true of the occupation encampment more broadly. There was also little in the way of private space inside the Legislative Yuan, seeing as cameras were recording the ongoings inside 24/7, and media was almost always present, making the Legislative Yuan something of a panopticon. However, later on, yoga rooms and even singing rooms were set up in the Legislative Yuan to make it more comfortable for occupiers, though.
Photo credit: Kevin-WY/Flickr/CC
There are also reports of outlets failing to work and poor Internet and cell phone connection within the Legislative Yuan, which some suspected to have been attempts to frustrate occupiers by the government and to cut them from the occupation outside. The occupation inside the Legislative Yuan was always dependent at all times on supplies from the outside world, after all.