“Policemen, if you move this altar, 1 billion Catholic followers all over the world will watch over you.” The young Father Woo from Jeju finished ALL the orders of the Catholic mass despite the repeated remarks by Koo Seul-Hwan, security director of the Seogwipo Police Station, who was embarrassed but continued to threaten him that it is an obstruction of business.
It was for the first time that an altar was set up in front of the main naval base construction(destruction) gate since the navy forcefully set up fence on the way to the Gureombi Rock on Sept. 2, 2011.
Kim Mi-Lyang, a woman villager, held up a sign that reads, “Return back the Gureombi Rock to Kim Mi-Lyang, daughter of Gangjeong!” After the mass, we could observe an elderly follower teared and hugged Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon. There were lots of woman followers. It was really moving that they danced the Gangjoeng addictive dance together with the peacekeepers in Gangjeong.
It was April 8 that the construction company thugs blocked the gates then on April 25, Kang Un-Sik, a new chief of the Seogwipo Police Station, fostered threatening mood with his military boots and mobilization of 800 policemen who occupied the two gates. A police unit were searching village to arrest people.
It has become already four prisoners this year, including Yang Yoon-Mo, Park Sung-Soo (released on April 1), Kim Young-Jae, and Lee Jong-Hwa. The people’s press conferences led by the Jeju Pan-Island Committee for the Stop of Military Base and for the Realization of Peace Island on April 10 and National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island on May 2, were oppressed respectively.
The press conference on May 2 was to demand the stop of illegal construction (destruction) and to criticize the government’s recent abuse of state power- indiscriminate arrest, imprisonment, and deportation of people. In Korea, press conference can be legally held without report. However, the police removed people twice to allow the construction trucks to pass by, despite people’s demand for time and protest to it.
The National Assembly has passed about 200.9 billion won budget for the 2013 Jeju naval base project on Dec. 31, 2012. Why does the government enforce illegal destruction that is already tremendous violation of EIA and human rights? Is it because of Samsung that gets 108.3 billion won for caisson production & stationing and basic formation of breakwater in the 1st work area of the project? See here.
The police interrupt people’s press conference to denounce the abuse of state power ( Video by Go Gwon-Il on May 2)
The peacekeepers who have kept the gates day and nights have been at the risk of worsening health, arrest and imprisonment. Wang Yu-Hsuan who has acted in Gangjeong for a long time has become the 21st victim of ROK government’s entry denial, in relation to naval base issue.
Mass that has been daily continued got oppression, as well as life and peace 100 bows. Even though the article 20 of the South Korea Constitution protects the freedom of religion.
However, the exemplar struggle by the Catholic Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and followers in Gangjeong is raising a new beacon of hope in the struggle against the Jeju naval base construction(destruction).
The Fathers’ struggle risks their own dignity as human beings and priests.
Heart-breaking struggle by Catholic Fathers and Jeju Island people continues while hymns are sung (Video by Pang Eun-Mi on May 2 : Source)
However, isn’t it amazing to imagine all the Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters, in Korea appear in front of the gate to express opposition against the Jeju naval base and will for the true Peace Island?
Such possibility has been shown when lots of Fathers and Sisters from the Jeju stood in front of destruction area and danced together. On the day, you could say The Holy Spirit has arrived in the village.
Dancing Fathers and Sisters (Video by Leejesu on April 29)
Update on May 4: Is it because of Fathers’ strong protests including the setting of altar on May 3? On Saturday, May 4, trucks did not pass by the main gate during the 11 am mass. It could be for a short time. But Fathers’ struggle is very appreciated. Here are some photos of Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and Catholic followers who pray and meditate during the mass. The big brother, Samsung is looking over the field in the form of a big monitor. The police with ‘red hats,’ with the background of fence where people left resistance slogans are decorations of the world where people’s aspiration for peace and democracy is urgent. For more photos, see here. The 1st photo is by Pang Eun-Mi. The others are by Save Jeju Now.