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Alleged Police Attack on Baby Carriage Sparks Anger

Posted July. 01, 2008 03:13,   


Controversy is rising over the allegation that police fired at a protester who had a young child in a baby carriage with water cannons.

Nocutnews.co.kr posted a photo of a young father gripping the handle of his baby carriage, holding back riot police amid thick gas ejected from a water cannon Saturday.

The caption underneath read, “A policeman douses a baby carriage near Gyeongbok Palace Saturday afternoon.”

When the article hit the main screen of Naver.com, a major Korean Web portal, it received around 4,400 comments through yesterday afternoon. In Daum.net’s online community “Agora,” one post said “Police have simply gone too far.”

Another poster wrote, “Dousing babies with water cannons is equivalent to attempted murder. Police have only themselves to blame for the violent response of protesters.”

Others, however, said the water cannons seemed to be aiming for adults standing nearby the baby carriage in the picture rather than the carriage itself.

One of them wrote on Naver.com, “The baby carriage could have been coincidentally parked near the spot where police began spraying water cannons.”

A man who identified himself as the father in the picture told The Dong-A Ilbo, “Police who were stationed near (the serviced residence) Somerset Palace came towards the pavement that my family was standing on. They began spraying water cannons at protesters until their commanding officer ordered them to stop, even when they knew a baby carriage was on the scene.”

“The commanding officer ordered them to stop only when I shouted that there was a baby on the scene to approaching riot police. I had no intention of participating in the protest or using my baby carriage for protection. My family just happened to be there and got caught in the middle.”

An official from Seoul’s Jongno Police Station that supervised the protest scene at the time denied the allegation as groundless. “Using the baby carriage incident as evidence of excessive force is part of a conspiracy against police, just like when police were blamed for the death of a middle school girl and the self-inflicted cutting off of a finger by a protester,” he said.