Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou yesterday said he would join a protest march - expected to involve tens of thousands of people - today to mark the first anniversary of the election-eve shooting of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian. 'I will fully take part in the event whose theme is to find the truth and oppose military forces,' Mr Ma said. His announcement was seen by Taiwanese media as an attempt at damage control after being criticised as putting his own image ahead of his party's interests. Mr Ma has announced his candidacy for the chairmanship of the main opposition party, the Kuomintang, in an election scheduled for July. He faces keen competition for the post from Wang Jin-pyng, the popular speaker of the legislature who announced his candidacy on Thursday. Since announcing his run for the KMT chairmanship last month, Mr Ma has been criticised for refusing to participate in several protests against Mr Chen last year. He also was accused of allowing police to disperse opposition protesters with water cannons and batons. He said he refused to join the protests because he must maintain law and order as Taipei's mayor. The protests were held after Mr Chen won the disputed poll by a wafer-thin margin. The opposition claims the shooting was engineered to garner sympathy votes.