Sun, Apr 18, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue protesters take a `stroll' down Ketagalan Boulevard

AFP , TAIPEI

Police run to intercept blue-camp supporters gathering in front of the Presidential Office yesterday.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

A few hundred opposition protesters gathered yesterday in Taipei for one of the smallest demonstrations yet against President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) disputed re-election.

The turnout of more than 300 was far below the thousands who have gathered for previous protests every weekend since Chen's victory by a marginal 0.22 percent on March 20.

Masked protesters walked in virtual silence around Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the presidential palace, which was protected by barbed-wire barriers and more than 100 police.

While a rally drew 500,000 people on March 27, others held two weeks ago and last week were joined by some 40,000 and 110,000 people respectively.

The protesters yesterday wore white T-shirts and signs reading "For truth," "For justice" and "Save democracy," and making little noise.

Little noise, that is, except when they were arguing with police, whom they said were blocking them from "strolling" in a public place.

"We are taking a stroll here in a peaceful and rational manner," one of the protesters said. "And we are wearing white to mourn the death of our democracy."

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