Aborigines demonstrate against plaza's new name

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DPP and KMT legislators argue while Tseng Kun-ti, curator of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall, is being interviewed during an inspection to

DPP and KMT legislators argue while Tseng Kun-ti, curator of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall, is being interviewed during an inspection to

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ying and aborigines are seen protesting on Ketagalan Boulevard yesterday.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ying and aborigines are seen protesting on Ketagalan Boulevard yesterday.

Representatives of indigenous peoples staged a protest against the Taipei City Government yesterday, demanding that the city immediately withdraw its move to name the area around Ketagalan Boulevard "Anti-Corruption Democracy Square."
They also asked the city government to apologize to aborigines, saying the name change destroyed the symbolic meaning of the boulevard's name.
A motion passed by the Taipei City Council to rename the plaza in front of the Presidential Office as "Anti-Corruption Democracy Square" took effect on Tuesday. The area of the newly named plaza includes part of Ketagalan Boulevard, part of Gongyuan Road and the historical Chinfu Gate.
The city government said the street sign for Ketagalan Boulevard will not be changed, but indicated officials were mulling ways to label the plaza, either by adding its name to street signs or installing another sign near the square.
Chanting slogans such as "Anti-stigmatization! Give us back Ketagalan Boulevard!" and "Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) disrespects indigenous people!", around 20 protesters from Taiwan's indigenous groups, including the Tsou, Saisiyat, Amis, Pinuyumayan, Paiwan, Bunun, and Atayal tribes, joined yesterday's demonstration.
They said the name "Ketagalan Boulevard" was a symbol of respect toward Taiwan's aboriginal peoples and that it represented the beginning of reconciliation among ethnic groups.
"But the new name Anti-Corruption Democracy Square completely destroys the original meaning of Ketagalan Boulevard; the new name is even likely to have a negative effect on the reputation of Taiwan's indigenous peoples," a protester said.
The group asked Hau to immediately reverse the name change and apologize for the move or they would move to obtain justice using the teachings of their ancestors.
Ketagalan Boulevard is located in Taipei City's Zhongzheng District, between the Presidential Building and the East Gate. The street was fomerly named Chiehshou Road, literally "Long Life" Road to wish former President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) a long life.
On March 21, 1996, when President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was Taipei City mayor, Chiehshou Road was renamed Ketagalan Boulevard and the surrounding square was renamed Ketagalan Square in honor of the Taiwanese Ketagalan aborigines living in the Taipei area.
Yesterday's rally was dispersed by the Taipei City police after authorities raised warning signs stating that the gathering was illegal.
Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the the renaming of National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall is likely to gather steam as the Ministry of Education told reporters last night that it would again hang banners bearing the new name on the Hall's walls.
The banners had been in place since the official naming ceremony on Saturday, but they were torn down by the Taipei City Government Tuesday morning along with a canvas that was covering the structure's original plaque inscribed with the monument's original name.
The city government said its action was justified because the banners blocked the view of the structure, in violation of the Cultural Assets Preservation Law. The central government's Council for Cultural Affairs later disagreed with the city's view, saying the banners had not violated any law.
The Ministry of Education, responsible for administering the hall, said it had recreated the banners and would hang them on the hall's walls this morning, while also pressing charges against the city for removing on Tuesday the two banners that were originally there.