[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 15 September 2006, 19:31 GMT 20:31 UK
Mass march against Taiwan leader
Shih Ming-teh leads a massive march in Taipei, Taiwan
The march was led by Mr Chen's former ally, Shih Ming-teh
Tens of thousands of people have staged a march to demand the resignation of Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian.

It was part of a movement which kicked off last week over corruption claims involving relatives and advisers.

Demonstrators have been holding a round-the-clock vigil outside the presidential office in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

Police say 320,000 people joined the march; organisers say as many as three quarters of a million took part.

It was led by Mr Chen's former ally, former ruling Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh.

He has vowed to continue the protests until Mr Chen resigns.

Red for anger

Last weekend around 90,000 people were estimated to have taken part in the demonstration that launched the campaign.

Protesters give the 'thumbs down' to Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian

Protesters have remained outside the presidential offices, chanting and wearing red to symbolise anger.

"President Chen had promised us clean politics when he was elected in 2000, but now see what he has given the people," said businessman Jesse Wang, speaking to AFP news agency.

"For Taiwan's democracy, this is a big moment for expressing ourselves," Lin Chung-hsien, 38, explained to Reuters news agency.

After the march, protesters were due to take up a new position at Taipei train station because on Saturday, thousands of pro-Chen demonstrators are set to gather outside the presidential office.

"A lot of people have come from far away," said campaign spokesman Chang Fu-chung. "And despite days of rain, the number of people gets bigger and bigger," he said.

The campaigners are reported to be considering whether to call a national strike to put further pressure on Mr Chen.

Apologised

The president's popularity has plummeted amid scandals involving relatives and aides.

President Chen Shui-bian (file image)
Mr Chen's term of office is due to end in 2008

His son-in-law is facing charges - which he denies - of insider trading on the stock market, while his wife has also been accused of accepting department store vouchers.

Mr Chen has apologised for the scandals and has not personally been accused of anything.

His term of office is due to run until 2008 and he is refusing to resign, saying that the rallies are simply part of opposition attempts to bring him down.

In June Mr Chen survived an unprecedented parliamentary attempt by the opposition Kuomintang to remove him from office.




SEE ALSO
Taiwan leader faces mass protest
09 Sep 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Protests against Chen gain ground
07 Sep 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan's Chen survives key vote
27 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan MPs in motion to oust Chen
13 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan's Chen makes radical move
01 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan leader surrenders powers
01 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Chen Shui-bian
19 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific