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Pres. Lee Orders Crackdown on Illegal Rallies

Posted June. 25, 2008 07:13,   


President Lee Myung-bak ordered yesterday a stern crackdown on illegal demonstrations, and police said they will arrest and take legal action against those using violence in protests.

A senior police officer said, “In principle, police will round up anyone who damages riot police buses or assaults an officer and take legal action against all offenders without exception.”

“Police have avoided taking stern action due to worry over the safety of peaceful protesters such as teenagers and the elderly. The (crackdown) decision, however, is in response to the escalating degree of violence among a dwindling number of protesters.”

If protesters illegally occupy city streets, police said they will immediately deploy riot guards to immediately remove the demonstrators.

Police Saturday requested arrest warrants for a protester who allegedly used violence against a police officer and for another who allegedly piled sandbags to climb on top of a police bus.

Arrest warrants are also being considered for 10 members of organizations promoting the candlelight vigils who had defied four straight prosecution summons as of Saturday.

Meanwhile, the People’s Association for Measures Against Mad Cow Disease held a candlelight vigil yesterday in front of Seoul City Hall to protest the U.S. beef deal and Korean education policy.

With some 1,000 protestors attending, the association said the Lee administration’s education policy is based on excessive competition and capitalism. “The government’s education policy will crumple the public education system and drive the people into a hellish education system and private education market,” it said.

The protesters demanded President Lee’s resignation and expressed opposition to the expansion of private education and the introduction of after-school classes and programs for the gifted and talented.