A scuffle broke out between supporters of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) and police yesterday when a crowd gathered outside the Taipei District Court to protest the continued detention of the former president.
Chen yesterday attended a hearing on whether his detention should be continued.
Near the end of the hearing, some of the supporters who had been watching the court proceedings shouted and stood up to get a better look at the former president, who appeared weak and ill.
Bailiffs asked the supporters to sit down and remain quiet, but to no avail.
Chen’s supporters heckled Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓), shouting: “You should have a conscience!”
A couple of the supporters were then escorted out by bailiffs.
Outside the courthouse, demonstrators wearing green baseball caps and shirts with “Bian support union” written on them protested the court’s continued detention of the former leader.
Shouting phrases such as “Tsai Shou-hsun is a judicial executioner” and “Tsai Shou-hsun wants him dead,” dozens of the protesters surrounded the Taipei District Court.
They carried signs that said: “Everyone is equal before the law,” “Justice is not served, human rights is dead” and “Release A-bian, hold fair trials.”
After Chen’s hearing ended at 11:10am, those who had been in court walked out to join the rest of the demonstrators.
A line of police carrying shields stood between demonstrators and the courthouse.
Some demonstrators and members of the police argued and shouted profanities at each other, while small clusters of demonstrators and police shoved each other around the courthouse.
The demonstration settled down after about an hour with no injuries reported.
When former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) appeared at court in the afternoon in a trial involving alleged kickbacks in a government land deal, she said she was very concerned about Chen’s health.
“He has symptoms of heart disease,” she told reporters. “I hope the judge will release him.”
Chen has been detained for a total of more than five months on corruption and embezzlement charges.
He has denied the accusations, saying the trials are politically motivated and that his detention is a violation of human rights.
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