Baton-wielding riot police cleared Taiwan's Cabinet offices of angry protesters opposed to a trade pact with China as tensions escalated over the island's ties with the communist mainland.

Authorities said they arrested 58 protesters and 137 were injured, including 24 who had to be taken to hospital. The crackdown came five days after students occupied the nearby legislature to protest against the ruling party's decision to renege on a promised review of the trade agreement.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing has long sought to reassert its control over the island.