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Tens of thousands rally against Taiwan’s president

September 29, 2013

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Tens of thousands of Taiwanese were rallying Sunday against President Ma Ying-jeou amid plummeting opinion polls and bipartisan anger over the wiretapping of legislators.

Local television reports said about 50,000 protesters were gathered in front of the Presidential Office in downtown Taipei on Sunday night to demand Ma step down over a host of issues, including economic management and a wiretapping scandal that has incurred the wrath of legislators across party lines.

“President Ma should get out so we can have a future,” one group of protesters chanted.

The protest by black-clad demonstrators brought together supporters of both main political parties and was the largest of several grass roots demonstrations Sunday in the capital and the southern city of Kaohsiung.

The protesters were demanding the abolition of the Special Investigation Division (SID), a prosecutorial body whose wiretap data Ma used to demand the resignation of Legislative Speaker and party rival Wang Jin-pyng over alleged influence peddling.

On Saturday, legislators across party lines attacked Ma and likened the SID’s operations to the Watergate scandal. They demanded SID head Huang Shih-ming resign after Taipei District Court documents showed the division placed a wiretap on legislative communications for almost four months.

Ma was comfortably re-elected in 2012 on a platform of improving economic ties with China, but the Wang-led legislature is delaying a key cross-strait economic agreement despite Ma’s Nationalists holding a majority in the chamber.

Update hourly