Wed, May 04, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Police prevent airport clash

By Jewel Huang and Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTERS , WITH AFP

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan delivers a speech after arriving at CKS International Airport last night.

PHOTO: AP

Anxious to avoid a repeat of last week's turmoil at CKS International Airport, police last night deployed 3,000 officers in a successful bid to prevent protesters from occupying the airport as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) returned from China.

Protesters who tried to sneak into the airport were taken away, including several pan-green camp legislators and a number of unidentified people in black clothes suspected to be gangsters supportive of the pan-blue camp.

There were sporadic tussles at the airport and on the freeway leading to the airport where police stopped motorists who attempted to protest Lien's return. No major injuries were reported.

A failed independent legislative candidate was arrested on arrival at the terminal for allegedly threatening the peace.

"I didn't break the law," Ke Tze-hai (柯賜海) shouted as he was driven away in a police vehicle.

Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) earlier said that more than 3,000 police would be mobilized at the airport from 3pm to prevent violence and that any lawbreakers would be arrested.

Four prosecutors were also on hand to issue arrest warrants for any person who protested inside the airport.

Barbed-wire barricades were erected on roads leading to the airport and vehicles were checked by police to prevent protesters from reaching the terminal. Police also guarded Lien's residence and KMT headquarters in Taipei.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday called on around 100 party members to support lawmakers who wore masks bearing the words "protest" and "Lien sells out Taiwan." Their attempt to stage a sit-in inside the terminal was blocked by the police.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Lin Kuo-ching (林國慶) and Tsao Lai-wang (曹來旺) disguised themselves as police but were detected and removed from the area. DPP Legislator Chiang Chao-yi (江昭儀), who went to the airport on his own, was also detained by police.

As they were led away, the legislators shouted, "The police are being unfair! We have broken no laws!"

DPP Legislator Wang Shih-chien (王世堅), who was heavily involved in last week's protest, was stopped on the Nankan Interchange long before reaching the airport and argued with police. Wang continued to the airport, however, and protested the detention of his colleagues.

Several unidentified people in black clothing carrying batons attempted to enter the airport and were detained.

Lien was received at the airport by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫) and other senior KMT figures.

In a short statement, Lien recounted the highlights of his trip but did not reveal any new details on his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).

Lien said he would make details of his trip known over the next few days. He concluded his brief statement with a reminder to support the KMT in the National Assembly elections on May 14.

Lien then returned to his home without incident under an escort of more than 500 police.

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