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LFP Leader Lambastes Violent Protestors

Posted June. 28, 2008 08:34,   


Liberty Forward Party leader Lee Hoi-chang criticized violent protestors Friday, saying that those who used violence to police and reporters are "not protestors but rioters."

“We are deeply concerned about non-violent candlelight vigils turning into violent protests,” Lee said during a press conference at the party headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul. “Violent protests can never be justified.”

Lee also said, “It was deplorable to see Thursday night protestors kicking and tramping on police officers and certain media reporters, taking off tablets, breaking glass windows and throwing trash at certain media company buildings.”

“Demonstrations that raise questions about and protest against the government`s wrong policies or diplomacy should be nonviolent and peaceful. This is the rule of law,” Lee added. “Violence that undermines the rule of law is distorting the people’s rightful argument about the country`s inspection sovereignty and obligation to secure the people’s health, posing a question about the true intention of protestors.”

Regarding the crackdown by the government, Lee said, “Law enforcement authorities have the right and responsibility to crack down on violent protests by law but as excessive crackdown can reversely lead to violent protests, excessive measures should be avoided.”

He reportedly decided to hold a press conference after seeing pictures and articles in a daily, which showed a reporter and police officers being beaten up by a group of protestors. He received the first draft for the conference, taking issue with both violent protests and excessive police crackdown, and revised it to give more emphasis on the problems of violent protests. Sources said Lee has said many times recently that law enforcement authorities should not be challenged.

Lee also strongly urged the United Democratic Party and the Democratic Labor Party to get back to the National Assembly. “The government has no will to, and can no longer, renegotiate. The current situation cannot be solved through the candlelight protests,” Lee said. “Now is the time for the National Assembly to step in.”

He added, “The cause for returning to the National Assembly is to carry out the full responsibilities as the legislative branch to check the executive branch. We need no other cause than that. I sincerely hope that the UDP and the DLP come back to the National Assembly.”