Taichung, Taiwan — Hundreds of angry protesters hurled shoes at riot police in Taiwan on Sunday as public discontent grows with the government.
The ruling Kuomintang party was holding a congress calling for unity, as its popularity continues to decline.
The demonstrators have various grievances – some are jobless from factory shutdowns, others are independent activists and supporters of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.
They chanted “Ma Ying-jeou, step down!”, venting their anger at President and Kuomintang chairman Ma Ying-jeou, while throwing shoes at riot police, according to reports.
Anti-government sentiment grew after workers lost their jobs following the mass shifting of factories from Taiwan to the Chinese mainland because of cheaper manpower and land prices there.
Then a row between Ma and Wang Jin-pyng, the parliamentary speaker and second most powerful Kuomintang politician, sparked fears the party would split. But a court ruling allowed Wang to keep his post and the party opted not to appeal the ruling in the interest of party unity.
Ma was re-elected in January 2012 for a final four-year term, but his popularity took a severe hit over a bribery scandal involving his top cabinet official and close ally Lin Yi-shih.