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Korea Exports Protestors, Crowd Control

Posted November. 18, 2005 08:26,   


Count demonstrators—and the skills to control them—among Korea’s exports.

Farmers’ organizations that are holding demonstrations in front of the National Assembly in protest against the bill to ratify a rice deal grace period extension are planning to dispatch a large team of demonstrators to Hong Kong next month where the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting will be held.

According to the police and farmers’ organizations, 1,700 or so farmers from the pan-national peasants’ unions will hold massive demonstrations in downtown Hong Kong from December 12-19.

The unions have already set aside 1.7 billion won for this, including flight fares and accommodation expenses of about one million won per person, and the reservation of flights and accommodations is completed. Moreover, through cooperation with People`s Alliance, a local social group of Hong Kong, the unions gained permission to demonstrate in the neighborhood of Hong Kong convention center where the meeting will be held.

Some civic groups and Hanchongryun, a students’ union, are expected to join the rally. Therefore, the number of Korean demonstrators alone is expected to reach 2,000, two thirds of all the demonstrators that Hong Kong police are expecting during the meeting.

The Hong Kong police department, which has seen intense demonstrations of Korean farmers through the media, is alarmed. The suicide of Lee Kyung-hae, the then-chairman of the pan-national peasants’ unions, in 2003 made them more alert.

The Hong Kong police sent three high-ranking officers to Korea on November 17 and asked the Korean police to share its skills with them and train them to counter intense demonstrations.

A source from the Korean police said, “The Hong Kong officers will stay in Busan and learn strategies being carried out during the APEC summit and skills to respond to demonstrations.

He added, “We are concerned because the farmers may procure demonstration tools locally.”

However, a source from the pan-national peasants’ unions said, “It is natural that there will be many Korean demonstrators because they are suffering the biggest damage.” He added, “We will inform demonstrators what they have to be careful of in Hong Kong, so that there will be no accident.”

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