Amis singer Panai Kusui has won her appeal against fines from the Taipei City Government over her protests in 228 Peace Memorial Park, but she and her allies are more focused on their long-running fight against the central government’s Aboriginal lands policy.
The Taipei Parks and Street Lights Office last year fined Panai NT$7,200 for contravening Article 13 of the Taipei City Park Management Ordinance (臺北市公園管理自治條例) on July 16, 18 and 19 by setting up tables, chairs, boxes, cabinets and structures at the park without permission.
Panai lost her initial court battle over the fines, and an appeal in February, but the Taipei District Court on July 27 ruled in favor of Panai, saying that she was exercising her freedom of speech without hindering public passage through the park or damaging its facilities.
Panai and her colleagues were back at the park on Sunday to continue their protest on the land issue and their fight for “Indigenous Transformative Justice.”
Panai declined to comment on the court verdict, saying she was not feeling well and was still working on strategies with her lawyer.
She and her allies are fighting a regulation enacted by the Council of Indigenous Peoples in February 2017 that defines and zones what can be classified as indigenous “traditional territories and lands,” following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) Aug. 1, 2016, promise to delineate traditional Aboriginal territories and lands.
Panai and others held a news conference in front of the Presidential Office Building on Feb. 23, 2017, to criticize the regulation, saying it excluded privately held lands, thereby limiting where Aborigines could hold traditional activities, and call for its amendment.
The council said that including private lands in traditional Aboriginal territories would violate the right of property under the Constitution, and it was not authorized by the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law (原住民族基本法) to include private lands in the regulation.
Panai and other advocates set up a protest site on Ketagalan Boulevard in May that year, before moving it to the nearby National Taiwan University Hospital MRT Station on June 4 under pressure from Taipei officials.
The city tore down displays, tents and traditional painted stones placed around the station in March 2018 and January last year, saying they were harming Taipei’s cityscape, which led the group to move to its current location in the park on Jan. 24 last year.
The city has yet to say whether it plans to appeal last month’s court ruling.
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