Go to contents

Police to Crack Down on Habitual Protesters

Posted March. 10, 2009 03:07,   


In the wake of last week’s assault on police officers by protesters in Seoul, the new Seoul police chief yesterday announced a policy of zero tolerance on illegal protests.

Joo Sang-ryong said all 200 protesters who habitually protest in the downtown area will be arrested.

“Police plan to arrest all 200 protesters who stay on after dispersion of assemblies and continue to disrupt the city with illegal demonstrations,” he told a news conference.

Police concluded that the 200 protesters were behind the assault on police officers last week.

“The smaller the number of protesters, the more aggressive they become in adopting the tactics of ‘urban guerrillas,’” Joo said.

“Assaults on police officers can never been tolerated in a country that respects rule of law. We will arrest the illegal protesters at whatever cost even if it proves detrimental our image.”

Joo added, “Until now, we’ve focused on defensive control where we send police officers with three times more shields than demonstrators. We are developing tactics centering on sending arrest squads if illegal activity is spotted.”

President Lee Myung-bak also appointed Kang Hee-rak the new commissioner general of the National Police Agency and Lee Gil-bum chief of the Korea Coast Guard.

On the assault on police officers, President Lee said, “I cannot understand how such a tragic incident took place in our country. We must establish authority for law enforcement and protect social order to become an advanced nation.”

“We must provide maximum support to hardworking police officers so that they can work with pride and ensure that they are not in a disadvantageous position because of their occupation.”

President Lee also urged officers to root out police corruption to gain the public’s trust.

Kang said, “We will not compromise with illegality or violence and will restore the authority of police officers so that the public can rely on them.”

firedy@donga.com mhpark@donga.com