Thousands of opposition sympathizers took to the streets after China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou was sworn in for his second and last four-year term as head of state.

Ma’s recent policy initiatives including relaxation of restrictions on US beef imports, a utility price hike, capital gains tax on securities transactions and his non-confrontational policy towards mainland China sparked protests in Taipei.

The Democratic Progressive Party organized nationwide marches against Ma’s policies, pushing for an initiative for the dismissal of state legislators who support the lifting of the ban on the import of beef which contains growth additive ractopamine, a no-confidence vote against Premier Sean Chen and demand Ma’s resignation.

Ma, on his inauguration speech, pledged to maintain the status quo of “one Republic of China, two regions” that have “created the most peaceful state of cross-Strait relations in 60 years”. Ma has discussed further liberalization, to set aside the island’s “protectionist mindset” and open up Taiwan to the world.