Taipei, March 24 (CNA) Premier Jiang Yi-huah said Monday that the student-led protests against a trade pact with China had "degenerated and gone out of control," forcing the government to take anti-riot measures in the early hours on Monday morning.
Hundreds of protesters stormed the Executive Yuan compound at around 7:30 p.m. Sunday night. Many of them had been taking part in the occupation of the Legislative Yuan, some 200 meters away, that began March 18.
"We cannot allow the country's top decision-making body to be usurped or occupied, and we had to exercise our official authority," Jiang said at a press conference.
The premier also described as a "gross distortion" media portrayals of the overnight crackdown as being similar to the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre in China.
Serious clashes occurred early Monday before police managed to remove protesters from inside the Executive Yuan compound just before dawn using high-pressure water cannons.
Jiang also urged the protesters to remain calm and rational, and to not use the trade pact with China as an excuse to paralyze government operations.
A total of 61 people were arrested for occupying the Executive Yuan building, with 35 still being interrogated as of Monday morning, Jiang said.
(By James Lee; click here for the updated story.)ENDITEM/ls
Related stories:March 24:●Protesters to seek charges against premier for police crackdown●Executive Yuan protesters dispersed with water cannons[On Zhongxiao East Road and Zhongshan South Road in Taipei. CNA photo March 24, 2014]●Dozens hospitalized as police remove protesters from Executive Yuan
March 23:●President backs premier order to evict intruders from Executive Yuan●9 injured, sent to hospitals as protesters break into Executive Yuan●Protesters enter Executive Yuan, extending occupation movement frontline[Demonstrators climb through windows of the Executive Yuan Sunday evening. CNA photo March 23, 2014]
(Click here for the latest on the ongoing protest and developments since the Legislature occupation starting March 18.)