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Government Money Goes to Violent Protesters

Posted June. 11, 2007 02:47,   


It was revealed that Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs (MOGAHA) granted money to a civic group, Solidarity for Implementation of South-North Joint Declaration (SISND), to support its projects, and categorized these projects as non-profit activities for the public good. However, it is drawing criticism now because the MOGAHA didn’t consider the fact that the head of the SISND’s local branch was taken into custody last year and charged with the beating of a policeman during a protest rally.

Last month, the MOGAHA decided to grant 30 million won to the SISND to support its project called “The Movement for the Construction of a Peaceful System in the Korean Peninsula.”

In fact, this is a portion of the 100 million won that SISND is receiving from MOGAHA over three years to support this movement.

Meanwhile, the MOGAHA stated that it will not support illegal, violent groups in an official document that revealed a list of civic group projects that will be supported by the ministry as non-profit public activities. However, this incident proved that the ministry’s statement is not based on sufficient examination of applicants and that the ministry did not check with the heads of its branch offices first.

According to the document, Lee Sang-bae, lawmaker of the opposition Grand National Party and a member of Government Administration and Home Affairs Committee; Ahn, 48, SISND co-head of the Daejeon-Chungnam branch; and other four members were taken into custody on charges of initiating violence during a protest against the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement which was held on November 22, 2006 in front of a Chungcheong provincial office in which about 7,200 people participated.

At that time, they beat policemen with cudgels, broke the provincial office wall and burnt 190 trees. Ahn is currently serving as co-head of the Daejeon-Chungnam branch of the National Movement against the Korea-U.S. FTA.

A source from the MOGAHA said that, “Since the document we got from the police explained that Ahn was just the co-head of the Daejeon-Chungnam branch of the National Movement against the Korea-U.S. FTA, we didn’t know that he was a branch head of SISND,” adding, “If it is confirmed that Ahn is serving in the SISND, we will consider sanctions against the SISND.”

The SISND received seven million won last year from the MOGAHA and published two books: ‘Measures for Peaceful Unification on the Korean Peninsula’ and ‘Six-party talks and Peaceful Settlement of the Korean Peninsula Issue.” These books have pro-North Korean tendencies and contain content against the U.S., and have produced 1,000 copies each.

Specifically, these books argue that, “The U.S. should disband the United Nations Command, withdraw the United States Forces Korea, stop military training against North Korea and end hostile policies against North Korea, such as economic sanctions and penalties related to North Korea’s human rights issue,” and additionally argues that, “The South Korean government should abolish the National Security Law.”

Regarding the unification issue, the books assert that, “The combination system that is advocated by South Korea as a proper way for unification lacks consistency and logicality,” adding, “The federal system that is suggested by North Korea is a reliable method in that it takes into account the differences between the two Koreas, and has many feasible elements.”

On the other hand, Lee Sang-bae, lawmaker of the opposition Grand National Party, argued that, “It doesn’t fit into the initial intention of supporting non-profit civic groups to give money to organizations that have strong political dispositions,” adding, “We should enact a law that prohibits organizations that have relationships with groups which led illegal violent protests such as the National Movement against the Korea-U.S. FTA from receiving money from the government and taking money back from the SISND, which is known to have supported illegal protests.”