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‘All Five Protesters Killed by Watchtower’s Collapse’

‘All Five Protesters Killed by Watchtower’s Collapse’

Posted January. 24, 2009 05:52,   


An eyewitness to Tuesday’s deadly clash between police and sit-in protesters in Seoul’s Yongsan district said yesterday that the five dead protesters were found under the debris of the collapsed watchtower.

Hwang Yun-gyu, a senior paramedic from the Yongsan branch of the Emergency Medical Services System, told The Dong-A Ilbo that four bodies found at the center of the collapsed tower were covered by scaffolds and steel pipes of the watchtower.

“I was able to recover the bodies long after clearing up the building materials,” he said.

He collected the bodies of the victims and transported them to the National Institute of Scientific Investigation and hospitals.

Hwang added that building materials used to build the tower fell on the head of the other evictee, whose body was discovered with that of SWAT team member Kim Nam-hoon behind the tower.

His testimony contradicts the claim of relatives of the killed evictees that protesters fell off the building in the police crackdown, and that the dead bodies from the fall were carried to the roof to make it look like they were killed due to the tower’s collapse.

“Sergeant Kim’s corpse was found under sacks of rice that protesters brought to the building as food,” Hwang said. “We recovered his body only after digging up the pile of rice for about an hour.”

The autopsy results on the five dead protesters also showed they were not physically attacked before the accident, an institute official said. “The cause of death for all six people was severe burns and carbon monoxide poisoning.”

The autopsy also found that the dead protestors had empty stomachs at the time of the incident, with no signs of alcohol or drug use found.