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Taiwan police disperses protesters
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-29 07:47

Taiwan police dispersed the last group of some 500 protesters from around the office building of the leader of the Taiwan authorities on March 28 morning after five hours of efforts.

Protesters demand for a recount. [people.com.cn]
Some of the demonstrators moved to a nearby square to continue the protest against the election.

The group was the tail end of a mass rally, initiated by the opposition coalition of the Kuomintang and People First Party on Saturday.

The election committee of Taiwan determined that the coalition lost the March 20 election for the leadership of Taiwan region by a margin of only 0.22 per cent.

Chen Shui-bian, to whom election authorities there gave the victory in the controversial election, held a press conference at 9 pm on Saturday.

He denied accusations of irregularities in the voting and allegations that the shooting was faked to win sympathetic votes. He said he was willing to see a recount and expected a clear result from the shooting probe.

Chen also agreed to meet with the losing candidate Lien Chan, head of Kuomintang, and Lien's running mate, James Soong, of the People First Party, today, but under the condition that protesters be instantly removed.

The opposition coalition quickly responded with a press conference of its own.

A spokesman said the mysterious shooting on March 19 significantly influenced the results of the election the next day, which hurt the coalition greatly.

Saying that "justice that comes too late is not justice any more," the spokesman repeated a demand for a recount and a thorough investigation of the shooting.

Lien and Soong were also waiting for the meeting with Chen today, he added.

The rally was comparatively peaceful, but thousands of riot police were ordered to drive away the protesters early Sunday morning.

Some of the protesters who refused to leave were carried away by force, and the others left the leader's office building reluctantly, with some of them turning to the nearby square.

At the height of the rally on Saturday, about half million people gathered in Taipei demanding a recount and the truth about the mysterious shooting.

Protesters from other parts of Taiwan island travelled to Taipei on Saturday morning to protest the "unfair election" on March 20.

They joined other protesters who had been in a sit-in on the avenue in front of the seat of the leader of Taiwan authorities for the seventh consecutive day.

Early in the afternoon, the avenue and neighbouring streets were jammed with protesters waving slogans and flags.

Addressing the rally, Lien Chan reiterated his charges of election irregularities.

Opposition leaders have said the election was unfair due to vote irregularities and the mysterious shooting incident on March 19, in which Chen Shui-bian and his running mate were wounded. The opposition also demanded a recount of the vote and that election results be nullified.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing that China firmly opposes congratulations sent by the United States to the Taiwan authority after the announcement of the election results by Taiwan electoral institution.

A US White House spokesman expressed congratulations to the Taiwan authority after the electoral institution of Taiwan announced the election results on Friday.

Kong said China firmly opposes these actions, which violate the three China-US joint communiques and interfere in China's internal affairs.

He said there is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China.

The US Government has time and again committed itself to adhering to the one-China policy, abiding by the three China-US joint communiques and opposing any words or activities of the Taiwan authority to change the status quo of Taiwan or to move toward "Taiwan independence," Kong said.

The US Government should honour its words, the spokesman said.

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