Wednesday, August 24, 2011

5 Arrested in Gangjeong as Police Escalate Violence

Recently my friend Sung Hee Choi was released from being imprisoned for holding a banner in front of a construction site for a Naval facility in Gangjeong that she was protesting. The banner stated "Touch not one stone. Not one flower." She was imprisoned for 3 months.

I have written several posts about the struggle of the people of Gangjeong against the construction of a base in their small town in Southern Jeju which would destroy much of their beautiful ecosystem. If you'd like to learn more Save Jeju is a great website to start looking at.

Earlier today the police entered the village and arrested 5 people including Mayor Kang as construction began of the facility there. The Navy base there is being built by the South Korean Government but will also be used by US forces and the ships that dock there will be purchased from the United States (Aegis Destroyers). When I spoke to Mayor Kang last year when I visited Jeju he had much to say about how he did not approve with putting this facility on an island which touts itself as being such a pristine ecological jewel and "An Island of Peace."

We, the people of this island should determine what our fate should be. The geography of this island puts us at a very important crossroads between nations. We should make the choice to develop this island because of its beauty through eco-tourism and not through militarization, which would only make us a target…If we all fight, who will win? No one. We would be gone in three seconds. To survive we must pursue dialogue and seek co-existence, not seek to force one another."
Ann Wright, a well-known antiwar and peace activist (who visited Guam in 2009) is in Gangjeong right now and sent out this update earlier today:
"I’m in Kang Jeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea and the sirens are blaring for citizens to come to the main gate of the Naval Base where construction is about to begin in an area that will destroy pristine lava fields and endanger marine life.

The siren sounds like a tsunami siren in Hawaii signaling an emergency. And that is what it is-4 activists were arrested two hours ago, including the Mayor of Kang Jeong, the cook at the camp and a member of SPARK and now 60 people have blocked front of the main gate of the base and many others at another gate.

Ten activists have locked chains around their necks and around each other and are sitting directly in front of a line of police at the gate. More arrests to follow no doubt.

will send more later.


Here is a video of the arrest of Mayor Kang.

For more updates check out No Base Stories of Korea which has plenty of info, links and pictures.

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