Riot police evict anti-China protesters in Taiwan. Will this embolden or break student demonstrators?
Dozens of people were arrested and more than 150 injured as protesters in Taiwan's capital clashed with riot police in the early hours of Monday.
Dozens of people were arrested and more than 150 injured as protesters in Taiwan's capital clashed with riot police in the early hours of Monday, according to an AFP report.
The violence represents a dramatic escalation in a days-old student-led protest over a controversial trade pact with China.
Armed with batons and shields, some 1,000 Taipei riot police were dispatched overnight to forcefully evict hundreds of protesters from Taiwan's cabinet building by dawn.
Using a combination of water cannons and baton strikes, authorities dragged demonstrators one-by-one out of the government building, which they had broken into mere hours earlier.
"Suddenly water was spraying at us and it was very powerful," said protester and former premier of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, Frank Hsieh, according to the report. "My glasses flew off and I was very dizzy."
Shouting "No more police brutality", defiant protesters locked arms and legs in a failed attempt to prevent their eventual eviction.
"How could they treat us like rioters? We are just plain students," student protester Huang Pei-feng told Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper.
The assault came after President Ma Ying-jeou, in a half-hour press conference Sunday morning, called on students to end their occupation of Taiwan's legislature, denouncing it as "illegal".
“[The students] took it upon themselves to illegally occupy the Legislative Yuan building, paralyzing our legislature for five days,” said Ma, according to a New York Times report.
Ma refused to back down from the far-reaching trade pact with China, calling the deal vital for Taiwan’s economy.
The measure, which was signed by representatives from Taipei and Beijing, awaits ratification by Taiwan's legislature, which has been occupied by protesters since last Tuesday.
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