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Workers march to 'fight for justice'

More than 3,000 members from over 20 labor groups around Taiwan demonstrated in Taipei yesterday to protest recent government economic policy which the protesters say sacrifices the people's interests in favor of big businesses.

The march started at the intersection of Chongqing North Road and Beiping West Road. Those leading the procession kneeled down every few steps for a 200-meter distance to symbolize the plight of laborers as well as “to demand justice, to fight for fairness, and to protect their livelihoods.” The rally then gathered at Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, where some protesters engaged in scuffles with police officers while hurling eggs at the office.

The Taipei City Police Department said many officers at the scene were attacked with the eggs and some smoke bombs. The police said that by around 4 p.m. they were able to expel those who threw the eggs and smoke bombs, but did no arrests were made.

In response to the march, Minister Pan Shih-wei of the Council of Labor Affairs said laborers have the right to express their opinions.

Leaders of the labor groups said people are disappointed with the government's recent economic and labor measures for dealing with the country's economic slump, describing the steps as “exploiting laborers in favor of business conglomerates.” They said the only beneficiaries from the measures were conglomerates and those who continue clinging on to their economic and financial interests.

They called the government “a boor ruining Taiwan's people” as commodity prices and living costs continue rising while laborers' wages have been frozen for a long period of time. They accused the government of sacrificing people's interests in the name of stimulating the economy while ignoring the injustice in Taiwanese society.

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A protester joins others hurling thousands of eggs toward the Presidential Office to vent their anger over government policies, yesterday. Organizers said that they are planning another protest next month if their demands are not met. (CNA)

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