Fresh protests rock Taiwan's police and parliament

TAIPEI (AFP) - Hundreds of demonstrators surrounded a police station before staging a sit-in outside parliament late Friday to demand a top police official resign for removing protestors from parliament earlier in the day.

About 500 people surrounded a police station in downtown Taipei to voice their anger at its chief Fang Yang-ning, who had removed dozens of protestors who had refused to leave parliament after student activists ended their occupation of the main chamber.

"Step down," they shouted as Fang tried to appease the crowd while dozens of riot officers guarded the station.

The protesters, mainly young people, posted signs reading "state violence" and "police violate constitution" on the station's wall. There were also some minor scuffles between protesters and police.

"If I made any mistakes I definitely will resign," Fang told protesters.

Around 200 people later walked to the parliament to continue their protest with a sit-in.

Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin called for calm and promised to listen to the voice of the people.

"Emotions are high now and we can have a rational dialogue after everybody calms down, in order to revolve the situation," he told reporters.

The latest protest came less than a day after student-led protesters ended their occupation of parliament, three weeks after taking over the main chamber to protest a contentious trade pact with China.

"We came here with ideals, now we leave with more burden," student leader Lin Fei-fan said Thursday shortly before dozens of demonstrators clad in black t-shirts walked out of the building.

Holding sunflowers, the symbol of the movement, the protesters - mostly young students - were surrounded and warmly greeted by thousands of supporters as they moved out of the building.

The demonstrators occupied the main chamber of parliament on March 18 in the island's first-ever such protest.

The occupation came to an end after parliament's Speaker Wang Jin-pyng pledged not to preside over further debate on the trade pact until a law has been introduced to monitor such agreements with China - a key demand of the protesters.

But they have vowed to push on with their campaign to force the ruling Kuomintang party to retract the trade deal, a demand which President Ma Ying-jeou has flatly rejected.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.