Police clashes with villagers in Gangjeong, building site of US missile base

By Jun Tae-il Labor Movement Institute

The police raided the village at the dawn of 2 September 2011 to fence around the Jungdeok Junction.

Police were deployed on Sept. 2 to Gangjeong Village in the Jeju Island municipality of Seogwipo, the site of an ongoing occupation in opposition to the construction of a naval base. At around 5:10 a.m., Seogwipo Police Station sent around 600 officers into Gangjeong Village, where the base is due to be built, to surround and seal off Jungdeok Junction, which was occupied by 80-100 villagers and activists. The police stated that they had deployed force in order to prevent acts obstructing construction work because the navy had resumed construction early that morning, sending in excavators to the site.

Protesters clashed with police, sitting in shoulder-to-shoulder on the road, shouting slogans and blocking the police’s path. Around 38 people, including two priests, were reportedly taken away by police. 

Prior to this, on September 1 in Seoul, ‘National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island’ formed by 120 civic organizations held a ceremony to proclaim civic action to “embrace” Gureombi (the planned site of the base). The National Network urged the government to cease construction of the base and resolve the matter peacefully. “Although the court granted an injunction banning acts obstructing construction of the naval base, this does not constitute grounds for the government, the navy, prosecutors or police to forcibly proceed with resuming construction or deploying personnel,” the groups stated.

On the same day, Jeju Special Self-governing Provincial Council also issued a statement demanding, “The government itself must step forward as the main player in resolving the situation, search for a peaceful solution and refrain from using deploying force.”

Police, later on September 4, arrested 4 villagers and activists among the taken 38 people, furthering the atmosphere of martial law in the village.

{besps_c}0|police_raid_0209a.jpg|Gangjeong villagers and peace activists confronting with the police when the police raided the sit-in site in the village in the morning of 2 September 2011.|{/besps_c}
{besps_c}0|police_raid_0209b.jpg|The police clashing with the people from the naval base opposition sit-in site as they build fences round the Jungdeok Junction. 2 September 2011.|{/besps_c}
{besps_c}0|police_raid_0209c.jpg|The police surrounding and suppressing the villagers from the naval base opposition sit-in site as they built fences round the Jungdeok Junction. September 2, 2011.|{/besps_c}
{besps_c}0|police_raid_0209d.jpg|Koh Kwon-Il, looking down from the watchtower with a concerned look as the police raided the naval base opposition sit-in site to build fences around the Jungdeok Junction. Morning of 2 September 2011.|{/besps_c}
{besps_c}0|police_raid_0209e.jpg|The police guard the construction site for the controversial base on Gangjeong Village. 2 September 2011.|{/besps_c}

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