Opposition leader David Chiang canceled 20 campaign rallies today, saying exiled dissidents trying to return for this week’s elections are an “extra burden” that could fuel political violence.
Chiang, chairman of the 2-month-old Democratic Progressive Party, suggested that government agents seeking to discredit his party are to blame for clashes between police and demonstrators Sunday.
About 3,000 protesters marching to Chiang Kai-shek International Airport on Sunday to meet two exiled dissidents--who were barred entry to Taiwan--overturned cars and hurled rocks at police before being dispersed. Authorities said at least 27 police officers were injured.
“We have no proof but we suspect it is possible the government, particularly the military, may have caused this (violence),” Chiang said today.
‘Media Can Blame Us’
“The disturbance had a negative effect on our party. We have no television station, no radio station and no newspapers, so the mass media can blame us,” he said.
The Democratic Progressive Party, technically illegal under martial law, is fielding 44 candidates in Saturday’s election--the first opposition challenge in the 37-year history of Nationalist Taiwan.
Sunday’s clashes broke out when 3,000 demonstrators tried to march on the airport to meet dissident leaders Hsu Hsin-liang and Hsieh Tsung-min, who have spent seven years in exile in the United States.
Hsu and Hsieh were barred in Tokyo from boarding a plane for Taipei, and aides said both remained in Tokyo today, trying to find another way to their homeland.