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Taiwan police use water cannon to retake government HQ

Taipei (AFP) - Taiwan riot police unleashed water cannon 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 is 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, which he argues is vital for Taiwan's economic future, rejecting opposition claims that he is effectively handing the island over to Chinese control after six decades of political separation.

About 1,000 officers were deployed overnight to forcibly remove the protesters from the Executive Yuan. Premier Jiang Yi-huah, whose office is located in the building, said at least 110 people were injured, including 52 police officers, while police arrested 61 people.

"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.

After taking over the building, many protesters had lain on the ground with their arms linked to defy efforts to shift them.

Police 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 early Monday, eventually subduing the crowd and clearing the building.

"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.

March 24, 2014    piawliangjohny@
What a SHAME DPP luring the students to make a mess in the Executive Yuan Building. What kind of peaceful rally they are talking... they destroy the building make mess, Turn down the NATIONAL FLAG DOWN , make fire , write ugly words on the premises... they want to turn down the building.. Government should not allow this action. They should catch those officers who are feeding back the people to make mess. get them one by one and put them in jail , and check their backgrounds , Spray more cannon water to disperse them.. Government should be tough on this destructive demonstrations... Students: What are you learning from the school. younger generations should be more open minded, SMART. TAIWAN IS TOUGH COUNTRY.. IF FOREIGN COUNTRY SEE'S TAIWAN IS GROWING.. MANY FOREIGN ALLIES WILL JOIN HAND IN HAND TO PROTEST TO BE KNOWN AS A COUNTRY NOT AS PART OF CHINA..PEOPLE SHOULD BE WISE not to be lure by those officials wanted to topple the government..
March 25, 2014    wirewrapper@
I just can't believe that the Government forces here in Taiwan are so weak as to allow this to go on as long as it has. A certain level of protest is very very understandable, and I actually agree with it but when its to the point that the Government can not function that it just way too much and make Taiwan look like very unstable unsuitable country to invest in or live in. The government needs to put this down completely and get some respect! Also the government should either call in the Military to help or better equip the police to clean house!
Taiwan needs to get its act together. No matter how this situation is going it just shows that the President is a very very weak leader and does not have control of his country!
March 25, 2014    darkness@
Amber WANG is a terrible journalist doctoring facts to suit a Chinese point of view on the situation.
A proper journalist will be impartial and unbiased. Again proving why China's rule is so [...] STUPID.
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 Dozens hospitalized as police remove protesters from Executuve Yuan 
Protesters are sprayed with a water cannon during a demonstration outside the Executive Yuan in Taipei early on March 24, following Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou's refusal to scrap a contentious trade agreement with China.

(AFP)

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