Wed, May 03, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Aboriginal blockade to be moved

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Police officers yesterday dismantle a bamboo structure erected by Aboriginal land rights protesters who have been occupying a section of the sidewalk on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei.

Photo copied by Wang Kuan-jen, Taipei Times

A blockade on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building set up by protesting Aboriginal groups on March 19 is being forcibly dismantled as the demonstrators are accused of violating the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) and the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例), police said yesterday.

A group of Aboriginal protesters have since Feb. 23 staged a continuous demonstration in front of the building to protest demarcations of “traditional Aboriginal areas” that exclude privately owned land, a stance that Aboriginal rights groups say shows that the Council of Indigenous Peoples is selling out.

The groups were given three separate warnings that they ignored, the Taipei City Police Department’s Zhongzheng First Precinct said, adding that while the precinct has given the groups leniency to present their case and allowed them to hold at least 10 news conferences, the groups have failed to draw their activities to a close as promised.

Only a few protesters are stationed at the blockade at any given time, but the groups have taken over a large section of the road on the north side of Ketagalan Boulevard and put up tents and bamboo fences, along with painted stones and pots in which they grow vegetables, the precinct said.

The precinct has allowed protesters to erect their tents when it is raining, but the groups have taken such acquiescence as encouragement and refused to dismantle them even when the sun is shining, the officers said.

Despite holding an illegal gathering, the groups have also held events open to the public and sold products to raise funds, activities which clearly do not adhere to the stated goals of the protest, the precinct said.

Police officers made numerous attempts to reach out to the protesters to help them apply for a permit to legally use the road, but they were ignored, the precinct said, adding that now it has no choice but to enforce the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act.

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