Sun, Nov 11, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Protesters want hotel torn down

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Two environmental activists perform a skit in front of the Miramar Entertainment Park in Taipei’s Neihu District yesterday as part of a protest organized by various environmental protection organizations against the Miramar Group’s development of the controversial Miramar Hotel Resort in Taitung County.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

About a hundred protesters held up red towels bearing slogans and photographs of the controversial Miramar Hotel Resort at Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣), Taitung County, at the Miramar Entertainment Park in Taipei yesterday, calling for the company to tear down the illegal hotel.

Yesterday was the first weekend of the Miramar Entertainment Park’s eighth anniversary sales. Protesters consisting of residents from Taitung County and their supporters, as well as members of environmental protection groups, held up large printed posters that showed photographs of construction waste dumped on the beach by contractors at the beachfront hotel and handed out flyers to shoppers at the entertainment park.

Chanting “tear down the Miramar Hotel Resort and resist shopping at Miramar Entertainment Park,” the protestors spread their message through a variety of demonstrative actions, including silently “shopping” in the department store with banners in their hands, and performing songs or mimes in the building.

They said the Miramar group is a family enterprise that owns both the hotel resort in Taitung and the entertainment park in Taipei, so the demonstration at the park is a way to tell consumers to abandon the group that is illegally damaging the natural coastline at Shanyuan Bay for profit.

“It is unbelievable that an illegal construction can remain on the beach for so many years,” Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) of the Green Party Taiwan said. “Taiwan is a nation governed by the law and the court has already ruled it [the Miramar Hotel Resort] is illegal.”

The Supreme Administrative Court last month ruled that the result of an environmental impact assessment and a construction permit for the hotel was invalid.

Lin Shu-ling (林淑玲), an Amis Aboriginal resident of the area, said they decided to bring their voices to Taipei yesterday because the groups and residents have already expressed their opinions over protecting the natural coastline to the public through judicial process and social actions, but the developers and the local government still appear to ignore them.

“Modern society is a consumer society, so we want to tell consumers about the damaging wrongdoings of the enterprise and let consumers choose whether they want to buy from this kind of company or not,” she said. “We understand the effect may be limited, but knowledge is a kind of power.”

As the protestors stood at the entrance or walked about the complex, several shoppers stopped to look at their banners and ask what their demands were.

Taitung folk rock musician Takanow said they hope the local government can honestly listen to the voices opposing the development, abide by the law with conscience and tear down the illegal construction.

He added that if the Miramar Hotel Resort is allowed to remain on the beach, then it would “become the first domino knocked over, causing a domino effect of illegal development projects along the coastline of eastern Taiwan.”

“We also hope investigation units can look into the case and seriously investigate if there is a transfer of benefits between the local government and the enterprise, or dereliction of duty by local government officials,” he said.

The protestors peacefully ended their demonstration within an hour after the police raised a warning sign saying they were in violation of the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法).

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