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Arrest Warrants Considered for Violent Protesters

Posted June. 03, 2008 03:36,   


Police announced yesterday that it will consider arrest warrants for three to four protesters who allegedly used violence in Sunday’s anti-U.S. beef demonstrations in downtown Seoul.

A police source said, “We’ll talk with prosecutors whether to request arrest warrants for protesters who hit police officers or destroyed police vehicles at the crossroads of Jeokseon and Dongsipjagak intersections.”

Taken into custody Sunday evening were 78 demonstrators. One who was sick was released.

Police arrested 545 protesters between May 24 and yesterday, indicted 211 of them without physical detention and conducted summary trials for 21. Fourteen were let go with warnings and probes into 299 are ongoing.

A woman shown in a video clip to have been beaten by police Sunday turned out to be a Seoul National University student.

After being treated at St. Mary’s Hospital, she told reporters yesterday, “While scuffling against police nearby Dongsipjagak intersection around 3 a.m., police fired water cannons twice or three times and demonstrators were thrust about 10 meters. While doing so, a riot guard grabbed me by the hair, threw me to the ground, and kicked me with his boot.”

“I thought I would die if I got beaten again and hid beneath a nearby police bus. After the bus suddenly moved, I got out and riot police grabbed my hair again and beat me more severely.”

A police source said, “The officers who beat (the woman) turned out to be members of a riot control force. We’re investigating members of the squad and will finish as soon as possible.”

The Federation of Korean Trade Unions also released a declaration saying, “We strongly denounce the government for violently suppressing candlelight vigils and arresting hundreds of protesters.”

“We are taking a cautionary attitude as a policy partner of the ruling party and responsible economic subject. However, we cannot overlook the issue since the government has resort to violence while not releasing any effective measures.”

kimkihy@donga.com surono@donga.com