An estimated 1,000 people participated in an all-night music festival that started on Saturday at dusk on a beach at Shanyuan Bay (杉原海岸), Taitung County, to protest against a nearly finished beachfront resort.
Using music to show their opposition to what they called the “clearly illegal construction” of the Miramar Resort Village — the project’s construction permit and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) have been ruled invalid in court — Aborigines, artists, environmentalists and protesters from across the country gathered at the beach on Saturday.
Before the concert began, a dozen Aboriginal men lifted a bamboo raft and walked out to sea chanting: “Give back our traditional domain,” declaring their wish to protect the beach from development.
The protesters then lit fires and made traditional smoke signals, while calling out: “The beach is public, it is not private property.”
They urged the government to tear down the illegal resort.
“Construction of the Miramar Resort has already been declared illegal, but the verdict is still being ignored,” Aboriginal folk singer Nabu said, adding: “To be frank, the resort is forcing us to stand against it, because its behavior has enraged both humans and the gods.”
Thomas Chan (詹順貴), an environmental attorney, said the developers of the resort had violated the law by beginning construction before applying for EIA approval, so if the Taitung County Government decides to tear down the resort, it would be exempt from providing compensation to the developers.
Taitung should stop using the falsehood that it would have to pay compensation to the developers as an excuse to refuse to meet protesters’ demands to tear down the resort, he said.
Miramar Resort officials said it would guarantee job opportunities, environmental conservation and protect local culture.
However, the protest organizers said they oppose privatization of the beach for a limited few, adding that the public should re-think what types of economic development local residents really need.
The music festival was acoustic and mostly lit with fires. A relay of voluntary performances included Aboriginal performers, such as Amis singer Ilid Kaolo (以莉．高露), folk poet/activist Panai (巴奈), Takanow (達卡鬧) and Long Ge (龍哥), Hakka hip-hop troupe Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤), indie-pop musician Ciacia (何欣穗) and others.
The concert continued until 3am yesterday, and many participants slept on the beach after the concert and helped clean up the area yesterday morning before leaving.