Friday, December 31, 2010

More on Jeju Protests

More updates and information on the situation in Gangjeong on Jeju Island, South Korea.

The first comes from Sung Hee Choi who runs the very informative blog No Base Stories Korea. She is currently in Jeju and working with the villagers of Gangjeong. According to her most recent update, protestors were forcibly prevented from setting up a vigil outside of the Jeju Assembly building, two of the protestors were injured by police. According to Sung-Hee:
Yesterday, while I was in the village, the Pan Island Committeee Against the Military Base confronted the Jeju City authorities and police as the city did not allow the activists' tent vigil in front of the Island assembly. One member was arrested and two women - of whom one was greatly wounded in her face - were carried to the hospital.
The second comes from the blog Ten Thousand Things, which gives more information on the ecological importance of Jeju and Gangjeong, and why it is a travesty for a Navy base for US and South Korean troops should be built there, as well as some background on the struggle up until now. 


From No Base Stories Korea:

The members of the Pan Island Committee for Prevention of Military Base and for Realization of Island of Peace, and personnel of the religious fields, Jeju Island having a press interview in the Citizen’ s Room, Island Assembly at 11am, Dec. 29, strongly criticized the oppression by the Woo Keun-Min Island government and Jeju City government who forcefully prevented the people’s plan to install a vigil tent on the street in front of the Island Assembly, by even mobilizing a watering cart and search light, recalling of military operations in the past. They also demanded the city government whole reparation for a woman member of the Pan Island Committee, who had been greatly wounded in her face by being pushed back by a city government officer and fell down into the ditch during the body struggle between the citizens and government officers.

Following the Pan-Island Committee’s three page statement, the Democratic Labor Party, Jeju branch and Democratic Party, Jeju branch have also issued their statements. The Democratic Labor Party, Jeju branch criticized that ‘The Jeju mayor, Kim Byung-lib, led and commanded the oppression as if he is a police chief [on the street in front of the Island Assembly] and some governmental officers looked that they had been drunken then mobilized. And when the government officers were disclosed to take photos of the citizens, they showed absurd behavior lying that they were media reporters. The Democratic Party saying that “The reason that the citizens who had not even been allowed a tent dared the street struggle was to take the democratic & legal right and procedural justice,” criticized that ‘The tragedy yesterday was clearly due to abuse of authority power and the government officers and police invaded the citizens’ right of freedom for expression and rally.”

The Peace Disarmament Center, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy issued a statement also saying, “We strongly denounce the navy and Jeju Island authorities who are enforcing the construction of the Jeju naval base. The related authorities should immediately stop their staging of violent state power and pay attention to the desperate voices of the citizens who resist against enforcement of the base construction.”

About 10 Gangjeong villagers and Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa from Jeonju, in the southern part of the peninsula joining the Pan-Island Committee’s press interview, expressed their solidarity and thanks with its members. Otherwise, Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa who confronted a cold wind while he was doing one-man protest in front of the planned naval base area early in the morning, told that there would be the strong solidarity between Jeonju and Jeju against the Jeju naval base construction in the future. He also emphasized that the struggle against the naval base should be all Koreans’ struggle.

The Gangjeong villagers visited the movie critic Yang Yoon-Mo who had been arrested on Dec. 27 and prisoned since then. The seniors who saw him said Prof. Yang looked good and expressed his strong will on the struggle. The Pan-Island committee has also discussed the ways to release Prof. Yang and it is expected that the efforts for release him will be centered around the religious fields.

After the visit of Prof. Yang, the villagers visited a woman member of the Pan-Island Committee who was lying on bed after being pushed back by a government officer-according to a witness- fallen into a ditch and lying on the bed of a hospital. Her three teeth were broken and deeply put into her mouth as to the degree that doctors not be able to find them and her chin was holed with her teeth being shown through it. Can anyone imagine her pain and shock? The Pan-Island Committee members and Bishop, Kang Woo-Il who held the Christmas mass for life and peace in the Joongduk coast on Dec. 25, has also visited her.

As the Gangjeong villagers returning back to the Island assembly where the Pan-island Committee members had planned a tent vigil in its court, body struggle between the members of the Pan Island Committee and officers of the Island assembly began in minutes. Like the high-handed city officers on Dec. 28, the Island assembly officers obstinately blocked a truck loaded with tent tools as if they are the SWAT employees of the service corporations. While the Charmin of the Island assembly and Island members are never being shown, it was clear that the city hall officers, as if they knew they were doing shameful activities, could not refute against just criticisms by the members of the Pan-Island committee, civic organizations and religious fields who claimed their basic rights for expression. A woman member of the Pan-Island Committee, hit in the pit of her stomach by an Island officer, fell down and carried out to a hospital. The villagers confronting the Island officers along with the citizens had to return back to Gangjeong village due to an important village meeting in the evening. The Pan-Island Committee, after their emergency meeting, decided to prepare for a bigger mass struggle in the future instead a tent vigil. The national and international solidarity are also needed against the naval base construction in the Jeju Island.

One cannot but be infuriated by the reality in which the Island government and Island assembly prevented the just opinion expression of the Island people’s and villagers. Please send protest call, email and fax to the Jeju Island government as the below:
Jeju governor Keun-min WOO

Jeju Special Self-Governong Provimce

Address. Munyeonno 2, Jeju-si

Jeju Special Self-Governing Province 690-700 korea

Tel. 82-64-710-2114 Fax. 82-64-710-3009
It is told that the resolution to cancel the annulment of the absolute preservation areas in the Gangjeong village would be discussed centered around progressive members of the Island Assembly today. Because it would be the important watershed in the struggle against naval base since the former Island Assembly passed the bill of the annulment of the absolute preservation area on last Dec. 17, 2009 when the majority of the Island members were those of the right wing, Grand National Party, Island people, including the Gangjeong villagers are greatly paying attention to it.
We ask readers’ any solidarity in this important struggle to prevent the construction of the Jeju naval base, which would complete the United States’ strategic war base in the Northeast Asia.

The Gangjeong villagers had to endure the cold weather for several hours in front of the Seogwipo police station after the members of the civic organizations were arrested amidst their press interview on Dec. 27, on the contrary of the administrative officers who could freely enter and exit the police. Hours later, only the Gangjeong village mayor, Kang Dong-Kyun was allowed to visit the arrested in the police station... an example of how the Jeju island authorities ignore their true grassroots.
제주 12월 29일 상황 보고
12월 29일 전날 있었던 제주 시장과 직원들의 도의회 앞 부당한 노숙 농성 탄압에 항의하며 제주 군사 기지 저지와 평화의 섬 실현을 위한 범도민 대책위, 종교계는 11시 제주 시내 도의회 도민의 방에서 기자 회견을 갖고 시와 우근민 도정을 강하게 비판하며 김병립 제주 시시장의 사퇴를 촉구하였읍니다. 또한 불상사로 얼굴을 크게 다친 시민 단체 여성 회원에 대한 시의 전액 배상을 강하게 요구하였읍니다. 기자 회견에 참석한 한 분은 5공때조차도 시민들을 상해시킨 후 표면적이나마 사과와 배상이 있었는데 제주 도정은 그렇지도 않다고 비판하였읍니다. (기사들의 사진 및 링크 참조)

범대위 세 페이지 성명에 이어 제주 민주 노동당과 제주 민주당 또한 성명을 발표하였는데 민주 노동당은 ‘제주시장은 경찰청장 마냥 도의회에서 현장을 진두지휘하였고, 천막 철거 시 동원된 일부 공무원들은 술을 마시고 동원된 것으로 보였으며, 사진 채증을 하는 공무원들도 채증을 하다 적발되자 언론사 기자를 사칭하는 어처구니 행태를 보였다.’ 하며 비판하였고 민주당 역시 ‘한파가 기승을 부리는 가운데 천막마저 불허당한 시민들이 칼바람에 맞서 노숙 투쟁을 불사한 것은 '민주적.법적 권리와 절차적 정당성'을 담보하기 위해서였다"면서 "어제의 참사는 명백한 공권력 남용으로, 제주시청 공무원과 경찰은 헌법에 명시된 국민의 기본권인 의사표현의 자유와 집회의 자유를 침해했다"고 비판했습니다.

또한 서울의 참여 연대 평화군축센터도 ‘물리적 폭력까지 행사하며 제주해군기지 건설을 강행하는 해군과 제주도 당국을 강력히 규탄한다. 관계 당국은 폭력적 공권력 행사를 즉각 중단하고 기지건설 강행에 저항하고 있는 시민들의 절박한 목소리에 귀 기울여야 할 것이다.’ 라고 성명을 발표하였습니다. (기사 및 성명 링크 참조)

강정 마을회 역시 강동균 마을 회장님을 비롯한 10여분의 주민분들과 전주에서 오신 작가 이종화 선생님등이 이른 오전 마을 회관에 모여 범대위의 기자 회견과 회견 이후 즉석 회의에 참관, 연대와 고마움을 표시하였읍니다. 한편 전주에서 오신 이종화 선생님께서는 29일 이른 오전 해군 기지 가설 예정지에서 추운 칼바람을 이기며 1인 시위를 하시고 전주에서 제주와의 강한 연대가 앞으로 진행될 것을 말씀하셨습니다. 또한 해군 기지 반대 싸움은 전국적인 싸움이 되어야 함을 강조하셨읍니다

마을 주민분들은 11월 27일 해군 기지 예정지 가설 현장 기자 회견시 연행되어 현재 제주 교도소에 수감중인 양윤모 영화 평론가 교수님을 면회하였읍니다. 면회는 오전 8시 30분부터 4시까지 매일 1회 5인까지 가능하다 합니다. 교수님을 면회한 마을 어르신들은 교수님이 건강해 보였으며 투쟁에 대한 굽히지 않는 의지를 밝히셨다고 말씀하셨습니다. 범대위 또한 27일 이후 양윤모 교수님을 석방하기 위한 대책 토론을 해왔으며 종교계를 중심으로 석방 노력이 진행될 것으로 보입니다. (첨부 사진 참조)

양교수님 면회 이후 28일 노숙 농성 건으로 범대위 회원들과 제주 시청직원들의 몸싸움 과정에서- 목격자에 의하면-직원에 의해 떠밀린 (기사 참조) 후 얼굴을 크게 다치고 제주시 한라 병원에 입원해 있는 시민 단체 여성 회원을 방문하였습니다. 정씨는 이빨 3개가 부러져 의사들도 찾지 못할 만큼 입안에 박혀있고 턱에 이빨이 보일 정도로 구멍이 뚫렸다 합니다. 그 통증과 충격을 상상이나 할 수 있겟읍니까? 마을 주민분들 외에 범대위 회원들과 25일 중덕 바닷가에서 생명 평화 성탄 미사를 진행하신 강우일 주교님 또한 이른 오전 정씨를 방문하시기도 했습니다(기사 참조)
3시경 범대위 회원들이 천막 농성을 계획하였던 도의회 마당으로 돌아오니 얼마 있어 천막 설치 도구를 담은 트럭을 도의회내로 들이려는 범대위 회원들과 도의회 직원들의 몸싸움이 시작되었읍니다. 고압적인 제주 시청 직원들과 마찬가지로 수많은 도의회 사무처 직원들이 마치 용역업체 일꾼들처럼 차량을 완강하게 막았습니다. 도의회의장과 도의회원들이 코빼기도 보이지 않는 가운데 범대위 및 시민 단체, 종교계 인사들이 국민의 기본권인 의사 표현의 자유를 주장하며 당당하게 맞선 것과 대조적으로 도의회 사무처 직원들은 자신들이 부끄러운 짓을 하는 것을 아는듯 시민들의 타당한 비판에 한마디 대꾸도 못하는 모습이 너무 자명했읍니다. 몸싸움 와중에 범대위 여성 회원 한 분이 팔꿈치로 명치를 맞아 실신하여 병원에 실려가기도 했읍니다.(기사 사진 참조) 주민분들은 함께 맞서다 저녁 마을의 중요한 회의로 제주시를 떠나 강정 마을로 돌아왔습니다. 범대위는 긴급 회의 끝에 천막 농성을 안하는 대신 촛불 문화제 등 더 큰 대중 투쟁을 도 차원에서 벌여 나가기로 결정하였습니다. 해군 기지 반대를 위해 전국적인, 국제적인 차원의 연대가 또한 필요하다 할 것입니다.

28일과 29일, 제주 시청과 도의회의 시민들의 천막 농성 저지 및 탄압에서 드러났듯, 도정과 도의회 어느 누구도 도민들과 주민들의 정당한 의사 표현을 가로 막는 현실에 분개하지 않을 수 없습니다. 부디 많은 분들께서 제주도정과 도의회에 항의 전화 및 이메일, 팩스를 보내주시길 바랍니다.

오늘 도의회에서 진보 회원들을 중심으로 절대 보전 지역 해제 취소를 위한 의결안을 논의한다 합니다. (기사 참조) 이는 지난 2009년 12월 17일 한나라 당이 다수였던 도의회에서 날치기 처리되었던 절대 보전 지역 해제는 물론 해군 기지 반대 싸움에서 중요한 분수령이 될 것이기에 주민들을 비롯한 도민들의 촉각이 모아지고 있습니다.

부디 고압적인 우도정과 미적미적한 도의회를 압박하고 전략적 동북아 전쟁 기지 완성인 제주 해군 기지를 막는 이 중요한 싸움에 전국의 많은 분들께서 힘을 모아 주시길 바랍니다.


강정 주민분들은 경찰서를 자유롭게 드나들었던 행정관들과는 대조적으로 27일 시민 단체 회원들이 연행된 이후 면회도 허락받지 못한 채 추운 바깥에서 서귀포 경찰서앞에서 오들오들 떨어야 했습니다. 몇 시간 후에야 겨우 강동균 회장님만 면회를 허락받은 바 있습니다.


From Then Thousand Things:

(Every summer, hundreds of dolphins, traveling from Alaska, visit the sea off the village of Gangjeong, Jeju Island. Video courtesy of Yang Dong-Kyu, a filmmaker who filmed this hauntingly beautiful footage of the dolphins responding to his calls in summer 2009. )

Jeju Island, a World Heritage Site, is a jewel of biodiversity. The southern coast of Jeju Island is home to soft coral habitat. In 2001, the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration designated it a national monument protection area. The Gangjeong coast is a seasonal habitat for hundreds of dolphins that live there from June until September. They migrate from Alaska through the North Pacific Ocean to Jeju Island, the only dolphin habitat in South Korea.

And now Seoul is about to destroy the dolphin habitat and the traditional farming and fishing village of Gangjeong to transform an island known for biodiversity, international peace, honeymoons, and school trips into a focal point of rising militarism and an arms race in East Asia. Seoul's target: China, ironically the home of many of the tourists who visit Jeju.

In January, the villagers filed one of many lawsuits over the past few years aimed to stop the destruction of their village and the adjacent coast. They argued, “the village’s habitat should be preserved intact before the project violates their right to life and happiness."

A Jeju court ruled on December 15, unbelievably, that the naval base does "not appear to infringe on the rights of the villagers" — even though the project would destroy their homes and livelihood (tangerine groves and the soft coral habitat where they fish).

The proposed Aegis destroyer base is Seoul's attempt to turn Jeju Island, a honeymoon and school-trip destination, into a militarized, tourist attraction version of Hong Kong and Singapore. Seoul wants to model Hawai'i's mix of military and tourist development, despite the fact that Pearl Harbor made Hawai'i a military target in 1941.

Gangjeong villagers, supported by environmentalists, democracy and peace NGOs, and faith-based organizations, are now engaged in a sit-in to prevent the destruction of the the biodiverse habitat in Gangjeong that supports their traditional village life.

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