More than 3,500 aborigines demonstrated outside Taiwan's Presidential Office yesterday, demanding that Vice-President Annette Lu Hsiu-lien step down for making allegedly racist remarks. Armed with wooden daggers rather than the shotguns they had threatened to carry, the aborigines from 12 tribes in eight counties staged a sit-in in front of cordons of police and barbed-wire barricades. 'Annette Lu, step down, Annette Lu, resign,' they shouted as they waved the daggers. Aborigines were outraged when Ms Lu suggested during a recent inspection of flooded areas that the victims, mostly aborigines, should emigrate to Central and South America to make new homes. The protest started at 2pm and was due to continue late into the night. Police broke up a similar protest last Sunday. The aborigines had planned to bring their shotguns and sabres to perform a tribal ritual yesterday. But police warned they would be arrested if they brought weapons. 'Let's mourn for the death of human rights in Taiwan,' one organiser said. 'Let's lie down on the ground, on our land to show our grief.' Except for some minor confrontation between the aborigines and police, no violence was reported. The aborigines claim to be the original inhabitants of Taiwan, but Ms Lu, during her flood tour, gave that honour to the extinct 'black pygmy' tribe. 'We have had enough. She does not deserve to be the vice-president. If she refuses to apologise, we will do all we can to pull her down from her post,' said May Kao-Chen Su-mei , a protest organiser and aboriginal legislator. Last week, President Chen Shui-bian tried to quell the aborigines' wrath by saying Ms Lu had not meant what she said and that the government would do all it could to help the aboriginal flood victims rebuild their homes. Ms Lu stood firm yesterday, saying she had not made any remarks against aborigines. Aboriginal poet Hanlanan said the controversial suggestion by Ms Lu was only the trigger: 'The unfair policy towards indigenous people and repeated discriminatory remarks by the vice-president over the years are the major reason why we must come here to protest.'