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Seats Thrown in “Sacred” Kim Il Sung Stadium

Posted March. 31, 2005 23:48,   


North Korean spectators breaking off and throwing seats in the Kim Il Sung Stadium on March 30, despite the large presence of foreign news reporters, presents a stark contrast to female cheerleaders from the North, who had shed tears at the sight of Kim Il Sung’s picture on a placard getting wet in the rain, during the Summer Universiade Daegu in August 2003.

The stadium where the turmoil took place is considered a “sacred place,” named after the North Koreans’ late Great Leader. Purposely destroying the facilities of such a place is equivalent to committing a political felony.

The fact that the disturbance took place, even under such circumstances, reflects the enormous anger shared by the spectators. Moreover, most of the cheerers seen on the TV screen were wearing expensive coats that cost as much as KPW 30,000 ($12). They seemed to be the “core class” mobilized for the game. It was these elites that protested against the People’s Security Force (North Korean police).

Two days before the match against Iran, North Korean Central TV broadcasted the game against Bahrain, in which North Koreans became infuriated at unfair judgments by referees as well.

With the “frustration” they had felt still churning, North Koreans eventually burst into a rage, believing their team faced continued partial judgments on their home ground and already feeling annoyed about their team’s losing all of its three matches.

What was also exceptional is that the North Korean TV aired a taped broadcast of the losing game and the sight of angry spectators making strong appeals, possibly out of concern that imposing “report control” as before could backfire, shifting the people’s anger into another direction.