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Mainland issues warning amid protests in Taiwan(28/03/04)

    Legislators from the People First Party grab a chair and struggle with policemen during a protest at the Central Elections Committee for the discussion of the presidential election results announcement, March 26, 2004.

    The mainland side will not look on indifferently if the current situation in Taiwan worsens and spirals out of control, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said on March 26.

    The strong-worded statement came as thousands of angry Taiwanese protesters besieged the headquarters of the election commission of Taiwan and scuffled with police seven times on March 26 afternoon.

    Some protesters stormed into the headquarters to prevent the election commission from posting a notice on a bulletin board at the headquarters declaring the winner of the disputed March 20 election of the Taiwan region.

    Chen Shui-bian reportedly won only 29,000 more votes than the opposition coalition, while rejected votes totaled 330,000. Opposition leaders have said the election is unfair due to vote irregularities and the suspicious shooting incident on March 19, in which Chen and his running mate were wounded. They also demanded a recount of the vote and election results be nullified.

    The commission managed to post the notice at 19:40 Friday thanks to the intervention of police.

    "Taiwan compatriots are as close to us as flesh and blood," said the spokesman. "We will not sit back and look on unconcerned should the post-election situation in Taiwan get out of control, leading to social turmoil, endangering the lives and property of Taiwan compatriots and affecting stability across the Taiwan Straits."

    "We have noticed that the electoral institution of the Taiwan region has announced the (March 20) election results in disregard of strong opposition from one competing side," the spokesman said.

    "We have also noticed that the opposition side refused to accept the results and that they are continuing their protests."

    "We are closely following the developments in Taiwan," the spokesman said.

    The major opposition party, Kuomintang, is reportedly scheduled to hold a large rally in protest in Taipei on March 27.


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