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Taiwanese March in Run-Up to Election

Tens of thousands of people rallied across Taiwan Sunday as political parties stepped up campaigning ahead of next Saturday's parliamentary election.

In Taipei, supporters of the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union, an ally of President Chen Shui-bian's party, waved placards of their candidates and chanted independence slogans. Nearby, thousands of backers of the opposition Nationalists marched for improved ties with mainland China.

President Chen is hoping to achieve a majority in the 225-seat legislature so he can push though what he calls needed constitutional reforms. The Nationalist Party and its coalition partner, the People First Party, currently hold a slim majority.

Beijing has denounced the planned constitutional amendments, saying they are a pretext for declaring formal independence, an act China says will trigger a war.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.