It is the summary of what happened in the village from April 25 to 28.
The Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea (SPARK) wrote on April 26:
“The Park Geun-Hye government’s oppression on people is being started in earnest. Days ago, the incense burning site of the Ssangyong automobile workers installed in the Daehan gate, Seoul, was violently demolished while a warrant of arrest was [unjustly and violently] issued to Ms. Kwon Myung-Sook, member of the bereaved families of Yongsan tragedy.” (* She was released soon)
Prior to it, the Jeju Court confirmed the imprisonment of Mr. Kim Young-Jae (41), a peace activist in Gangjeong, for the charge of obstruction of business on April 24 (Prisoner No. 435). He had been arrested on April 12. Two Jeju activists including Mr. Bae Gi-Cheul and Ms. Lee Jin-Hee, (47), Jeju branch co-representative of the Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) were being arrested on April 8 and 16, respectively. Both were released days later. Those arrests happened during everyday people’s protests at the construction gates against the navy’s illegal construction (destruction of the environment) that threatens the UNESCO and government-designated soft coral habitats near the construction area.
To enforce drastic policies against people’s just demands, the newly launched Park Geun-Hye government started to clearly show its fascistic nature on April 25. In the Seogwopo Police Station, Kang Un-sik, a Jeju-born, was inaugurated as a new police chief to brutally suppress people’s struggle.
On April 25, the situation in the village was in emergency. On the day, 10 police companies occupied the gates the naval base construction area. About 800 police personnel including 300 from Jeju, led by Kang Un-sik, a Jeju-born and a new Seogwipo Police Station chief, were mobilized. Three police cars stationed nearby gates to arrest people. People-especially people who have not responded to the police call or didn’t pay fine- were at the risk of being arrested. About 40 policemen searched for the village to arrest some people. Activists who have been fighting long time in front of the gates have been under the great danger of arrests, as well.
Video by Guerrilla (nickname)
Three activists including one woman activist, mother of a little daughter and two Jeju activists of Mr. Kim Kook-Nam and Mr. Kim Dongdo( Organizing Director of the Jeju brach of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions) were arrested. The woman was for the reason that she had not responded to the police call many times while the two were carried by police for their act to stop the trucks. On the day, even the Press Conference to denounce police oppression and daily Catholic mass was blockaded. The three were released soon days later.
It was the next day of April 24 when Wang Yu-Hsuan, a Taiwanese young woman peace worker who has been in Gangjeong since July 2011 was denied entry to Korea from her two months’ overseas trip, without proper explanations given, and was stuck in the airport, while demanding the ROK authority exact reasons of her entry being denied. She would eventually leave on April 26 with no explanation given. On the day, people’s press conference to denounce the police oppression and even Catholic mass were blockaded. The Jeju Pan-Island Committee for the Stop of Military Base and for the Realization of Peace Island that held the press conference denounced the police oppression:
” It is told that the police set up drastic measures in Gangjeong. It is really dumbfounding. The police have protected naval base construction (destruction) site that is like a department store of illegal acts in violation of various present laws. Now they threaten citizens who are willing to stop the illegal acts and says they would arrest them [..]
As disclosed, the navy has greatly damaged the Sea of Gangjeong, the treasure of Gangjeong villagers and citizens. However, it has enforced construction(destruction) without any proper measure. It has not even carried out what it made negotiations with the Jeju Island government. It is clearly a violation of approval condition to the naval base construction. What have the police done to such navy?” (source)
On April 26, another Jeju activist, Kim Kook-Sang was arrested for his act to stop truck. He was release the next day.
On the same day, the Jeju media reported that the supreme court dismissing Yang Yoon-Mo (prison No. 301)’s final appeal, confirmed the decision of higher court against Yang. The Higher court made decision of 18 months’ actual prison sentence on him on Feb. 1. He was directly arrested from the court on the day. Yang has carried out 52 days’ prison fast until March 24. As of April 29, he hits 89th day in prison… while another prisoner, Mr. Kim Young-Jae hit 18th day. Regarding the case of Yang Yoon-Mo, you may refer to UN Special Rapporteurs’ joint allegation letter to South Korean government on human rights violations in Gangjeong, Jeju. Here is Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon and other Catholic Fathers who continue to give hope to people and inspire them again and again.
Video by Pang Eun-Mi on April 27.
On April 28, a bright Sunday, another peace activist, Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa was arrested around 11:30 am. It is the 5th arrest since April 25.
Video by Leejesu Youmyoung
A heart-breaking Catholic mass on Sunday
Video by Pang Eun-Mi
Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon finally bursts tear when he sings a daily song of ‘Peace of Gangjeong and love you, Gureombi.’ The videomaker, Ms. Pang Eun-Mi cannot but cry along with him. Since April 25, the construction main gate has been occupied by the policemen and has been forcefully opened to allow 24 hour entry/ exit of construction trucks. Fr. Mun provides communion to Fathers, Brothers and people through the policemen. When he comes to the gate of naval base project committee, he hears one activist has already been arrested. After returning back to a tent across the main gate, he fell down for a while, though he would be recovered soon. Fr. Kim Sung-Hwan keeps the gate alone. Tearful resistance is continued in Gangjeong on a bright Sunday.