Taiwan is stepping up security to ensure the safety of participants after the opening ceremony of the 2017 Summer Universiade was disrupted by protesters.
President Tsai Ing-wen ordered stricter law enforcement and harsher punishment for those responsible.
Thousands of student athletes from 141 countries and regions are taking part in the 29th Summer Universiade which opened at the Taipei Municipal Stadium Satuday night. It’s the first time Taiwan is hosting such a large-scale event, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The disturbance happened as the athletes were about to march into the stadium, with some protesters clashing with the police near the entrance.
The protesters were demonstrating against reform in Taiwan’s pension system for employees and teachers.
It was reported that a protester threw a smoke canister which police later said was not an explosive.
The Office of the President, the Executive Yuan, the Taipei city government and the International University Sports Federation condemned the violence.
Huang Sung-chen, head of the Taipei Universiade Organizing Committee’s security department, said the police will deploy more manpower to protect athletes until the event ends on Aug. 30.
At a press conference on Sunday, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, who called the protesters “bastards”, said the police will strictly enforce the law without leniency, Apple Daily in Taiwan reported.
The Kuomintang’s vice chairman Hau Lung-pin said no one won in Saturday’s violence and the protesters only invalidated the legitimacy of their cause.
Meanwhile, a protest leader confirmed their presence at the venue but said their location was nowhere near the athletes’ entrance.
National Civil Servant Association director Lee Lai-hsi, who is a leading figure in the movement, denied he initiated Saturday’s protest but said it is common to stage demonstrations outside major events.
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