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Parents of Combat Policemen Appeal for Peaceful Rally

Posted June. 10, 2008 08:31,   


“If the people are so mean toward public force now, wouldn’t they feel so ashamed to call for help when they really need one?” asked 50-year-old Kim Yeong-baek, whose son joined the army in December last year and is serving as an auxiliary policeman in the mobile unit under the Seoul Police Agency.

Ahead of the “72 Hours Relay Rally” held from June 5 to 8 and the upcoming “Candlelit Grand March” planned for June 10, he took days off from work on May 31.

He wanted to join the parents of other riot and auxiliary policemen who were staying close to the venues where vigils took place to appeal for peaceful protests to the citizens, so that he could do what he could to protect his son.

Every evening, he buys chocolates and snacks with what money he has and goes to the venue of the protest. “Rallies lasting till morning exhaust the policemen. I’m unable to relieve their fatigue but I want to help them forget hunger,” Kim said.

He stayed up on the street from the evening of June 6. When the riot police and citizens had physical collision near a church in Shinmunno, central Seoul, early Saturday morning, he was there and saw what went on.

When he heard the news that the protesters and the police turned into violence, he hurried to the spot only to see the chaos aroused by the protesters and police mingled with one another. Some riot policemen were injured and carried back to the rear end of the rank.

“I was extremely worried because I thought the same thing could happen to my son,” he said.

When he called 119 and was answered that no ambulance was available, he became upset, thinking, “The state is neglecting those youths who are serving the state.”

He saw one riot policeman carried to the rear end after being stepped over by the protesters. His breathing was irregular and his eyes were out of focus. When Kim tried to cover him with a blanket, the man cried out, “Save my junior. Without me, he will be stepped over to death.”

He confessed that he felt so sorry and anguished that he even thought that it is natural for a person to give one blow when he got one?”

“Why should a peaceful rally scare anyone seeing it? Riot and auxiliary policemen out there do not say they are scared while in the rank, but when they are with their parents they say that they are sometimes shudder out of horror,” he roared.

He has also witnessed a riot policeman fall down out of fear even when there was no serious collision with the protesters. Not only that, he saw many elementary students pour out swearing and insulting words to the policemen at the venue of vigils.

“The other day, my son told me he had heard someone insult his parents, and said sorry,” he said, smiling bitterly.

“When I hear such things, I do get angry, but more than that, I feel sorry for my son because I might be causing more strains for him,” he said.

“I know where my son is serving his duty at the moment, but after seeing the rallies with my own eyes, I cant’ get myself out there,” he said with tearful eyes.

“One mother whose son is a riot policeman was so upset that she proposed that we hold a rally opposing unlawful rallies, but other parents opposed it saying that our sons will have less time to sleep if we do that,” he said.

He drove his car full of chocolates after his last words: “People like us can’t say what’s in our minds even though we have things to say.”