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Citizen Protests Flaring in N. Korea

Posted November. 30, 2006 06:49,   


The Asahi Shimbun reported on November 9 that the North Korean residents of Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province were protesting the closure of Nammun market to the authorities, quoting multiple sources.

The news reported that one woman was killed in a clash between the local government and the residents in September, and in early November tens of citizens rushed to the market management authorities where eighteen were apprehended on the spot. The news also added that the North Korean People’s Security Ministry apprehended an additional two people who were accused of instigating the people.

The uproar over Nammun market of Hoeryong was reported in the Daily NK, an Internet media outlet specializing in North Korean news.

According to the Daily NK, the uproar was caused by the government’s forcible dismantling of the market. The Nammun market management authorities started to collect 3,000 North Korean won from the merchants since late October, on the premise of “newly renovating the market stores and roofs,” but dismantled the market without notice one week after the incident. They then reported that Nammun market would be combined with Hoeryong market, located four km away.

Some 100 merchants who faced losing their source of income overnight ran to the market management authorities to ask for an explanation on the part of the authorities and to have their money returned.

Tens of security guards (police) were brought in to dissemble the crowd, but none have reportedly been arrested.

The Daily NK reported in a follow-up report on November 27, “The merchants involved in the protest went to the security station to protest for a resolution,” and added, “as it seemed that the incident was going to have a greater impact, the security station and the market management authorities allowed a temporary concession to allow them to open stall shops.”

This incident was notable in that the North Korean citizens protested to the government collectively and carried their point across.

The news was relatively quickly reported due to Hoeryong’s location near the border, but it was reported that similar incidents have occurred in other areas as well.

In a video clip taken by Daily NK around the entire North Korea and made public in August, its residents riding a vehicle near Sariwon, North Hwanghae Province, are calling names and protesting strongly against a security guard who attempted to stop them by force.

Experts view these instances to show the strong resistance of the North Korean residents to their government, and the loss of authority of the central government.

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