Posted December. 19, 2004 22:54,
The Korea Peasants League (KPL) is planning to launch a rally on December 20 at the Seoul city center, protesting the governments plans of additional rice market openings and direct sales of imported rice to consumers. The police are on guard at the news of the planned massive protest in which KPL will mobilize trucks.
According to the KPL and police on December 19, farmers will drive trucks to gather first at four places in Seoul on December 20 afternoon, including the plazas of Cheongryangri and Yongsan railway stations, Shintree Park in Yangcheon-gu, and Independence Park (Dongnip Park) in Seodaemun-gu, and then move to Munhwa Madang in Yeoido, Youngdeungpo-gu to start a protest.
It is reported that some 10,000 farmers (5,000 by police estimation) in 10,000 trucks (3,100 as police estimate) will participate in the protest.
An official at KPL said that the government that continued closed-door negotiations despite the public demand for transparent negotiations now is trying to start a dirty political bargaining on the result of negotiations. He also argued that a 10,000-farmer truck rally would reverse the government deal on the rice market opening at the last minute.
Police said it would protect legal rallies but firmly respond by law and principles to illegal protests such as the disruption of traffic with trucks.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has decided to maintain order at the protesting venues and to minimize traffic congestion by mobilizing 6,500 police officers on the day of the planned rally.
Police also decided to provide farmers with maximum protection in the case of a legal rally, but firmly deal with by law and principle behaviors like disrupting traffic by slowly driving trucks en masse, posting illegal posts, and throwing farm produce on the street.