Bringing ancestral tablets with them, dozens of people who face the forced expropriation of their land to make way for a planned airport express rail route in Taoyuan County rallied in Taipei yesterday morning to protest the planned auction of their land.
“Grandpa, grandma, great grandpa, great grandma and all our ancestors, please come to help us in this time of need,” members of the MRT A7 Station Development Project Self-Help Group chanted as they burned incense sticks in front of ancestral tablets belonging to the Chen (陳), Teng (鄧), Chu (褚) and Huang (黃) families.
“Please see how they are trying to take away the land that you passed on to us. Seek out those officials responsible and make them pay for what they are doing,” they said.
Dozens of villagers from Leshan Village (樂善) in Gueishan Township (龜山) staged the protest outside the Ministry of the Interior.
The plan, named the “A7 station of the Taoyuan International Airport MRT development project,” is to build affordable housing units and an industrial zone on the land.
The site is located near the planned Taoyuan International Airport MRT line, which will connect Taipei and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport by passing through Linkou District (林口), New Taipei City (新北市) and the borders of Taoyuan County and New Taipei City, including Gueishan.
Although the expropriation -process has been stalled by the opposition of local residents, the ministry has already put the land up for auction.
“We have brought our ancestral tablets here because we have already protested a number of times, but both central and local governments are ignoring us, so we are asking our ancestors for help,” the group’s chairwoman, Hsu Yu-hung (徐玉紅), told reporters. “How can the government auction our land before we landowners agree to it? This is a violation of our human rights.”
The landowners had not been invited or informed about a -meeting on Wednesday between local politicians and Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) officials, Hsu said.
After Department of Land Administration Deputy Director Wang Ching-hsiu (王靚琇) and Rural Development Department Director Hung Chia-hung (洪嘉宏) received their petition, the demonstrators marched to the Control Yuan and then to the Executive Yuan to voice their opposition to the plan.
“We will defend our homes with our blood and our lives,” Hsu said before leaving the ministry. “If anything bad happens, the government should be held responsible.”