Tue, Feb 01, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Protesters urged to act ‘rationally’

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

The Presidential Office yesterday told people wishing to vent their anger at the government to do so “rationally,” after Aborigines who staged a demonstration in front of the Presidential Office over the weekend accused the government official who accepted their petition of being arrogant and rude.

In a statement, the Presidential Office said it empathized with the demonstrators and had sent an official to listen to their grievances and accept their petition.

However, the tribal chief who led the demonstration insisted on entering the Presidential Office through the main door carrying his traditional knife. The chief’s request violated internal rules governing how grievances should be handled, the Presidential Office said. Therefore, the chief could only present the petition in the grievance room, it said.

The statement was made in response to a report in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Sunday.

The report said that the person who accepted the petition on behalf of the Presidential Office “shouted” at the tribal chief when the chief asked the representative to make an immediate promise, which the representative declined to make.

“All staff at the Presidential Office are empathetic and patient toward those who come to us with their grievances,” the statement said. “However, since the matter concerns the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Council of Indigenous Peoples, we cannot make any promises on the spot.”

It said the Presidential Office sincerely hoped that those wishing to file a complaint do so peacefully and “rationally.”

It also said people who have handed in a petition should patiently await a response from the relevant government agencies.

The statement said the Presidential Office asked the Executive Yuan to respond as soon as possible to the requests of the demonstrators in accordance with the law.

Dozens of Aborigines staged the demonstration in front of the Presidential Office early on Sunday morning, in which they accused the central government of repressing and exploiting the nation’s Aborigines.

They charged that during the past century, Aborigines were forced to leave their native lands and traditional hunting grounds and give up their rights to use and manage the natural resources of their land, which destroyed their traditional way of life.

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