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Police Says, “Anti-Impeachment Candle Protest is Illegal”

Police Says, “Anti-Impeachment Candle Protest is Illegal”

Posted March. 15, 2004 22:19,   


The police’s announcement yesterday that the “anti-impeachment candle meetings,” which have gathered around the nation, are illegal and will be broken up, brought about severe repulsion from citizen groups. Thus, conflicts are speculated to occur between them.

The National Police Agency commented, “Candle gatherings, which are being held in Kwanghwamun and other places, are all illegal.” He added, “Whether they declared before their meeting or not, every gathering after sunset is illegal.”

NPA Director-General Choi Ki-moon, who attended a joint statement of Her Sung-kwan, the minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, and Kang Kum-sil, the minister of Justice, also said, “Gatherings without advance notice and meetings after sunset are principally prohibited, and illegal actions such as obstructing the traffic lanes will not be tolerated.”

In relation to this, Kim Ok-jun of NPA Defense Department said, “We will try our best so that the night-meeting participators do not cross over to the traffic lanes, but if they do not act accordingly, we will break up the gathering according to the law.”

The police is known to have decided not to forcibly break up the meeting as long as the gathering stays within the pedestrian area. Therefore, if the participators stay inside the line, there will be not much of a problem.

The police also is planning to take judicial action against those protesting in the traffic lanes and who does not dissipate by confirming those involved using photos after the gathering.

Regarding the gathering and demonstration, the statute states, “Nobody can hold outdoor gatherings or demonstrations before the sunrise and after sunset, and the police superintendent can allow it with conditions in inevitable cases.”

However, no night-gatherings were classified as “inevitable cases” until now, and so gatherings held at night were all illegal.

To this, the citizen groups announced that they will carry on with the night-gatherings and therefore confrontations are expected.

“Pan-national Action for Impeachment Annulment,” which is leading the meetings, replied, “Citizens who join after work account for a huge percentage and inhibiting the gathering just because it takes place at night is like telling the nation to just sit and watch. We will carry on until March 20.”

On the other hand, the police classified the gatherings held in Kwanghwamun and other places during March 7 to 14 as illegal meetings without advance declaration and issued warrants to the 10 gathering promoters yesterday.

Wan-Bae Lee Yang-Hwan Jung roryrery@donga.com ray@donga.com