Aboriginal protest campsite torn down by 100 police

After 100 days of protest, the Aboriginal protest site on Ketagalan Boulevard was dismantled by police on Sunday

Aborigine tents being dismantled. (Image by Legislator Kawlo Iyun)

Aborigine tents being dismantled. (Image by Legislator Kawlo Iyun)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- During the pouring rain yesterday, 100 police along with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials descended on the peaceful aborigine protest campsite on the 100th day of their occupation of Ketagalan Boulevard.

Metal barricades were set up around the tents and the occupants were forced to leave before bulldozers and cranes were sent in to dismantle something of a village which had been made from bamboo and canvas that had been built over the past three months.

New Power Party (NPP) legislators Kawlo Iyun Pacidal (高潞 以用 巴魕剌), an Amis, and Freddy Lim arrived on the scene to show solidarity with the indigenous protesters. In a post on her Facebook page Pacidal said, "The government has lost its integrity with today's eviction, and I must reiterate that it is necessary to take a step forward and admit mistakes and rewrite the amendment."

Members of the Aboriginal Transitional Justice Classroom (原住民轉型正義小教室) have been occupying parts of Ketagalan Boulevard facing the Presidential Office Building for the past 100 days to protest the government's guidelines for demarcating "traditional areas" within which Aboriginal communities would be able to reject outside development.

Currently, the guidelines only apply to public lands, an estimated 800,000 hectares, while excluding private lands which cover 1.8 million hectares. Indigenous leaders contend that excluding private lands from "traditional areas" permanently nullifies any historic or legal claim they have to those lands and any recourse in preventing future exploitation of those properties by developers.

Aborigine leaders and NPP legislators Kawlo Iyun (third right) and Freddy Lim (second from right). (Image by Kawlo Iyun)

The scene before the tents had been removed. (CNA image)