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Tens of thousands of Taiwanese in protest over unfair election(03/24/04)

    TAIPEI, March 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Tens of thousands of Taiwanese residents took to the streets during the past consecutive four days in protests over alleged unfair election of leaders of the Taiwan region.

    The protesters demanded a recount of the votes and the truth about the shooting of Taiwanese leaders Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu on the eve of the election on March 19.

    Shortly after the poll results of the election were announced on March 20, the opposition coalition of the Kuomintang and People First Party questioned "fraud" by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) under the leadership of Chen Shui-bian. The coalition also said the shooting is suspicious, and demanded investigation of the shooting.

    The Taiwan authorities triggered its "national security mechanism" soon after the shooting, under which many servicemen and policemen were unable to cast votes as they had to be on duty.     

    Most of the servicemen and policemen are widely considered supporters of the opposition coalition candidates.

    It was reported that Chen Shui-bian won only 29,000 more votes than the opposition coalition, while the spoiled votes total 330,000, and the shooting accident resulted in increase of sympathy votes for Chen.

    Protesters took to streets on the night of March 20 in Taipei, Kaohsiung and other major cities in Taiwan, and the protesters, including those from other parts of the island, gathered at the avenue before the seat of leaders of Taiwan authorities despite cold weather and rain.

    Under the pressure of protesters, "judicial authorities" in Taiwan agreed to seal all the ballot boxes.

    The protesters vowed to continue their protests until the authorities accept their demands.

    The protests have attracted worldwide attention.

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