Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Taiwan cops use water cannon to retake govt HQ

24 March 2014, 18:26

Taipei - Taiwan riot police unleashed water cannon on Monday to dislodge hundreds of demonstrators who had stormed government headquarters in violent scenes that dramatically escalated a days-old protest against a trade pact with China.

After nearly a week-long occupation of Taiwan's parliament, the protesters late Sunday also infiltrated the Executive Yuan where the cabinet offices are located, pulling down barbed-wire barricades outside and using ladders to break into offices on the second floor.

The assault came after President Ma Ying-jeou refused to back down on the trade pact, rejecting opposition claims that he is effectively handing Taiwan's economy over to Chinese control after six decades of political separation.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah, whose office is in the Executive Yuan building, said at least 110 people were injured, including 52 police officers, while 61 arrests were made.

Some protesters damaged windows and doors of ministerial offices and tried to remove government documents before they were stopped, but the premier's office was not breached, officials said.

Riot police early Monday dragged up people sitting on the ground, and used riot shields to push the crowds back while some of the demonstrators tried to grab their batons and pelted them with plastic bottles.

Two water cannon trucks were then deployed, eventually subduing the crowd and clearing the building.

"Suddenly water was spraying at us and it was very powerful. My glasses flew off and I was very dizzy," protester Frank Hsieh, a former premier from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), told reporters.

One injured male protester lay on the ground receiving medical care, while another was led away with blood streaming down his face, AFP journalists saw.

"The government denounces violence and dispersed the crowd according to the law. We will not tolerate actions designed to paralyse the government," the presidential office said in a statement.

Fears of Chinese competition

But the DPP, which historically has favoured formal independence for Taiwan, called on Ma to respond to the protesters' demands and scrap the pact.

"Forcible dispersals will only cause more students and police to get hurt and are likely to trigger more outrage and protests," the party said in a statement.

Since coming to power in 2008, Ma has overseen a marked cross-strait thaw through stronger trade and tourism links with mainland China - which still considers Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification. The two sides split in 1949 after a civil war.

The president warns that trade-reliant Taiwan could be marginalised without the China agreement, which is designed to further open up trade in services.

The pact is "for the sake of Taiwan's economic future", Ma told a news conference on Sunday, denouncing the parliamentary sit-in before the protests spread to the Executive Yuan.

"Is this the democracy we want? Do we have to do in this way, risking the rule of law?"

The pact, signed in July, is a follow-up to a sweeping economic cooperation agreement signed in 2010 to reduce trade barriers between high-tech Taiwan and the world's second-largest economy.

"Some students are concerned about uncertainty for their futures," said Liu Bih-rong, a political analyst at Soochow University.

"They fear that under the pact there would be a large number of Chinese people and products coming to Taiwan, while China still has a lot of barriers against Taiwan which is not fair to Taiwan and which will affect their job prospects," he said.

Some 200 protesters - mainly college students - stormed the parliament last Tuesday and took over its main chamber to stop Ma's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party from ratifying the agreement.

Police showed no sign of intervening on Monday to retake control of the chamber, where the protesters remain holed up, following the unruly scenes at the Executive Yuan a short walk away.

Parliamentary speaker Wang Jin-pyng, who is from the KMT party, has called for a peaceful resolution to the sit-in.


Tags china taiwan

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...