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“It’s Rare for People in a Controlled Society to Cause a Disturbance”

“It’s Rare for People in a Controlled Society to Cause a Disturbance”

Posted March. 31, 2005 23:48,   


The foreign media paid keen attention to the North Korean audience’s furious reaction after the 2006 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifier between North Korea and Iran at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Stadium on March 30.

Though the disturbance erupted because of a Syrian referee’s decision not to allow a penalty kick, the foreign media noted that this sort of “disturbance inside the controlled country” usually failed to reach the notice of outsiders.

The foreign news agencies, including the Associated Press (AP), Agence France-Presse (AFP), Reuters, and Kyodo News, introduced the riot by North Koreans in full detail, reporting directly from Seoul or Pyongyang.

The Reuters News Agency remarked, “The world has been granted a rare sneak peak into North Korean mob violence,” while AFP introduced the commotion by saying, “It’s rare for the North’s crowd violence to be caught by the foreign press.”

The foreign media outlets quoted Iranian players as saying that “it was a very dangerous situation,” reporting that the police set up a defensive line as bottles, stones, and chairs from the angry crowd were thrown onto the Iranian players at the stadium and that the police also blocked the crowd outside the stadium.

Regarding the situation outside the stadium, AFP reported that there was a danger of its becoming violent and that the crowd and the police exchanged some tussling, but added that large-scale violence or fighting did not seem to have occurred.

The AP reported that there were 70,000 audience members inside the stadium and Reuters said that thousands of people remained outside the stadium two hours after the match had ended.

Meanwhile, the Japanese press also reported this recent uprising by North Koreans, focusing on the violence of the North Korean crowd. The Japanese team has a match in North Korea on June 8.

The Sankei Sports expressed its concern by saying, “North Korea will put everything into its match against Japan, since it has nothing left to lose after three consecutive losses.”

FootballAsia.com said that North Korea is sure to be subjected to a disciplinary measure by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for its crowd violence, in a detailed report on its interview with the Iranian coach.

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com