Jan. 10, the villagers’ first monthly Unity Day in 2013 was a day to be remembered, as the military and police even ignored the national legislature by exercising police violence to two National Assembly members who joined people’s press conference and struggle in protest to illegal construction that is being done despite the National Assembly ruling on 70 days’ construction stop for a thorough verification on the base design. You can see a video on the day here.
At 10:30am , the villagers declared their will to stop illegal construction in the press conference where representatives of the National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island, Jeju Pan-Island Committee for the Stop of Military Base and for Realization of Peace Island, catholic priests and protestant reverends and two National Assembly members such as Jang Hana and Kim Gwangjin joined.
Mayor Kang said, “The National Assembly has broken its own promise on through verification on base layout to people by passing all the 2013 Jeju naval base budget. Even though it attached the subsidiary conditions on 70 days in its passing the whole budget, the navy is still enforcing illegal construction and mobilizing state power, committing human rights violation on people.”
See the Korean article, here.
Regarding the incident on the violence on the National Assembly members, see the below translation of an article by reverend Jeon Yeon-Gil in the Gagjeong village. Rev. Jeong was released on Dec. 12, 2012, after 98 days’ imprisonment in jail. He was one of the five activists who climbed up on a caisson dock in the Hwasoon port, in protest to the Jeju naval base project.
Kim Gwangjin, Jang Hana, the two National Assembly members were encircled by the police
On Jan. 10, two National Assembly members, Jang Hanna and Kim Gwangjin visited the site of the naval base construction in the Gangjeong village.
The two National Assembly members visited the village to urge [ the navy] to properly keep the ‘70 days’ construction stop’ that the ruling and opposition parties have agreed with each other. The two National Assembly members have made prior talks with the chief of the base project committee and demanded construction stop to the Ministry of National Defense. However, seeing that construction is still being enforced, the two have stated that they would block construction even with their bodies, visiting the site in person, so that the recommendations by the National Assembly can be carried out.
Kim Gwangjin, the National Assembly man demanded saying in the Press conference on the day that, “the agreement by the ruling and opposition parties was that there should be inevitably a construction stop for a thorough verification. The matter on the execution of budget is decided only after verification. It means there will be no subject to provide construction cost during the 70 days if it is proved out to be an improper project later as a result of verification. Immediately stop an illegal construction, being enforced without allocated budget!”
National Assembly member, Jang Hana stated, “it is with so bitter lamentation to see the reality that the National Assembly recommendations are considered merely as a sheet of paper. To see the behaviors by the Government and [ ruling conservative] Saenuri Party, they do seem to have concern with neither 70 days’ construction stop nor thorough verification. They were merely betraying people to pass the whole budget. We clearly state that there would be no verification without construction stop nor possible execution of budget without verification. Since construction has not been practically stopped, the verification period of 70 days has not even started. It is a time when even more members of the Democratic United Party, a party of the subjects of promise to the citizens so that construction can be practically stopped and verification could be thoroughly done.”
However, it happened that the police forcefully encircle and detain the National assembly members who demanded a thorough execution on the National Assembly recommendations and legislature works in the site. [See the two National Assembly members’ Jan. 11 protest statement below]
Looking at that, a villager Kim expressed his piled up agony, “ Has there any coup recently happened in the Republic of Korea? How do the police dare to forcefully encircle and detain the National Assembly members in their legislature works? I so deplore the reality of South Korea. It seems Gangjeong became the lawless world where neither law order nor democracy system work, only with police violence being rampant.”
Two National Assembly members, Jang Hana and Kim Gwangjin made peace bows along with the villagers to demand construction stop in front of the base project until 6pm.
Leaving the village, two members expressed their will saying that “given that construction is not stopped by two of us, we will do our best for our promise to the citizens to be carried out by making more members including [Park Gi-Choon, representative of the Party] to visit here. We will come again with more National Assembly members.”
You may see another essay with lots of photos on the day’s incident, here.
Statement by Kim Gwangjin, Jang Hana, members of National Assembly, on Jan. 11, 2013
We denounce the Jeju naval base project enforced with illegal construction and violence by the police that used physical powers even to the National Assembly members, shielding the project.
1. Yesterday (Jan. 10), Kim Gwangjin and Jang Hana, members of the National Assembly (Democratic United Party), visiting the Gangjeong village, strongly criticized that the 24 hour construction is still going on in the Jeju naval base project without observation on the National Assembly subsidiary conditions.
2.After the press conference on the day, the navy entering the enforcement on construction including the entry and exit of construction vehicles from 3 pm, brought in conflicts between the villagers who have been carrying on 1,000 bows and police. The police pushing away the villagers to a side with the mobilization of physical power, encircled and detained them.
3. During the process, National Assembly man Kim Gwang-Jin and woman Jang Hana, pointing out the problems following the navy’s enforcement on construction, demanded the stop of construction including the operation of construction vehicles. However, it was not received. Rather, Kim Gwang-Jin, the National Assembly man was dragged out and Jang Hana, National Assembly woman was detained and encircled for a long time.
4. We strictly warn once again. The currently being enforced Jeju naval base project is an undeniably illegal construction even without contract action therefore the dispatch of force that protects it is illegal. We will ask legal and political responsibility to the commander who ordered physical power even to the National Assembly members who visited the site. Given that such violence is done even to the National Assembly members in their legislature works, it is unquestionable to imagine how it would be to the villagers and activists in the site. We will make a prompt correction on the police violence in the lawless world of the Gangjeong village
5. Also, the Ministry of National Defense who unreasonably enforce construction even breaking the National Assembly order items, should take the 1st responsibility on the situation. An illegal enforcement of construction is a defiance in the front against the authority of Constitution by which the National Assembly composed by the citizen representatives has the rights to legislation and budget and balance. We strongly demand it to promptly make an order on construction stop and to carry on full verification
(Original source: Click here)