| APRIL 10, 2004|
Posted: April 19, 2004
Huang Hsin-hao, Era News
Opposition protesters outside the Presidential Office in the capital, Taipei, attacked 14 journalists who were covering a demonstration against President Chen Shui-bianís recent re-election. At least one reporter was hospitalized, according to news reports.
On April 10, more than 100,000 people gathered outside the Presidential Office to protest President Chen Shui-bianís March 20 re-election. Chen, the incumbent, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, narrowly defeated Kuomintang (Nationalist, or KMT) Party opponent Lien Chan, after Chen and Vice President Annette Lu were victims of an assassination attempt on March 19. Neither Chen nor Lu were seriously injured in the attack, in which they were shot while riding in a open-topped jeep.
KMT supporters have called for an independent investigation into the shooting. Some opposition supporters have alleged that the DPP staged the incident to win sympathy votes in the close campaign, though a Central Election Commission investigation stated that the assassination attempt did not significantly influence the election results. Taiwanese society has been polarized by the election, and the opposition has held regular protests in recent weeks. An election recount is expected in mid-May, though it is not yet clear if it will be completed before Chen is sworn in on May 20.
At around 11 p.m. on April 10, protesters became increasingly violent, according to Taiwanese news reports. Demonstrators began to physically attack the journalists as they filmed the protesters tearing down barricades in front of the Presidential Office. Huang, a cameraman for Era News television network, was attacked by about ten protesters and was hospitalized with 20 stitches, according to the Taipei Times. Three other journalists from Era News and Eastern Television (ETTV) were also injured.
All together, about 140 people, including 86 police officers, were injured in the protest. Riot police eventually used water cannons to disperse the crowds. Police have arrested at least 21 people for leading the violence. Era News has said it will conduct an independent investigation into the attack on the stationís journalists.