Police in Taipei today disrupted a sit-in by indigenous protesters from Ketagalan Boulevard, near Taiwan’s Presidential Office, more than two months after the protest started.
The police moved a small group of protesters, who have camped out on Ketagalan Boulevard since Feb. 23, to the adjacent sidewalk and erected barricades around them. Police also removed indigenous artwork and rocks from the protester’s tribal areas that were part of the protest.
Several indigenous groups in Taiwan are opposed to the government’s planned return of land in eastern Taiwan, where most of Taiwan’s indigenous people live. The Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) has proposed to return of 0.8 million acres of public land to indigenous groups. However, another 1 million acres of private land has not been included in the CIP plan.
Savungaz Valincinan of the Indigenous Youth Front wrote on Facebook that the police dumped some of the rocks, which are culturally significant to the protesters, onto garbage trucks.
The protesters say President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who acknowledged the role of the government in many grievances towards the indigenous people in a symbolic speech on Aug. 1, 2016, has betrayed them. They also accuse CIP leaders of being in league with the government.
Protesters told The News Lens today they believe they are being removed from the street ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Tsai-led government.
Taiwan has around 535,000 indigenous people, about 2 percent of the country’s 23.5 million people.