Sat, Oct 30, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Protesters smother Lady Liberty with the Chinese flag

BACKLASH Independence activists burned a Chinese flag in an angry protest against the US secretary of state's comment that Taiwan is not sovereign

AP , TAIPEI

Protesters from the Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan burn a Chinese flag covering the head of a Statue of Liberty effigy in front of the American Institute in Taiwan yesterday. The rally was held to protest against comments made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell earlier this week.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Protesters in Taipei yesterday torched China's flag after draping it over a mock Statue of Liberty, as they demonstrated against US Secretary of State Colin Powell's claim that Taiwan is not an independent country.

The 50 demonstrators were also angered by Powell's assertion that Taiwan hopes to unify with China.

Powell's comments, made on Monday in media interviews in Beijing, alarmed Taipei. Powell later toned down his remarks, saying he meant that Taiwan and China wanted a "peaceful resolution" to the issue.

But this did not stop the pro-independence protesters from rallying yesterday outside the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy.

The demonstrators unfurled a large green banner that read, "This country is Taiwan!"

They also held signs saying, "Reject Unification" as about 30 police -- some with riot shields -- lined up in front of the building and watched the brief and peaceful protest.

The demonstrators used China's red and gold flag to cover the face of a cardboard figure of the Statue of Liberty, then set fire to the flag, which burned briefly and flickered out.

"Powell said Taiwan isn't a sovereign nation. This has made us all really mad," a protester with a megaphone told the crowd.

"We came here to ask America to say once again it was incorrect," he said. "Then the Taiwanese people can forgive them."

US officials have declined to comment further on the controversy.

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