Taiwan protesters tell Chen to quit

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Taiwan's capital calling for the resignation of the president over a series of corruption scandals.

    Protesters in Taipei braved hurricane weather

    A preliminary police estimate put the crowd at 130,000, but organisers said half a million people took part.

     

    The march came at the end of a weeklong series of demonstrations led by a former ally of the president who said he was fed up with the culture of corruption that has flourished in Taiwan under Chen Shui-bian's leadership.

     

    Since last weekend, protesters have maintained a vigil outside the ornate Presidential Office building, chanting slogans and giving their trademark "thumbs down" sign over allegations that people close to Chen - including his wife and son-in-law - used their proximity to him for personal financial gain.

     

    Friday's march took place in driving rain as Typhoon Shanshan skirted the eastern Taiwanese coast.

     

    But that didn't appear to affect the mood of the marchers, many of whom were dressed in red to symbolise their anger with Chen's leadership.

     

    Some of the demonstrators held black-rimmed portraits of Chen, characteristic of Taiwanese funeral processions.

     

    Others clutched red signs, bearing the Chinese characters for "Taiwan's shame" and "End corruption now", as drums beat rhythmically in the background.

     

    Corruption allegations

     

    For the past six months Chen has been on the defensive over a series of high-profile corruption scandals.

     

    Earlier this month the presidential office acknowledged that prosecutors questioned Chen himself about the use of false invoices to account for part of a secret fund used to sustain Taiwanese diplomatic activities abroad.

     

    Chen denied any wrongdoing in the affair, and insisted he will stay on until the end of his term, which ends in May 2008.

     

    Shih Ming-teh, the former chairman of Chen's ruling Democratic Progressive Party, has been leading the anti-Chen effort, leveraging his moral authority as a veteran campaigner against Taiwan's now deposed martial law regime to press for a new era of corruption-free politics on this island of 23 million people.

     

    Shih said: "Our leader has made grave errors. That's why we have to be here in this terrible weather."

     

    Shih has vowed to continue his efforts until Chen resigns, though it may be difficult to sustain the momentum of the past week, especially with the legislature resuming work on September 19 after its summer recess.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.