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Peace activists arrested in South Korea

Dear Friends,

There is worrying news to report from Jeju Island South Korea.

At the crack of dawn on Thursday, undercover police officers came to Gangjeong village and arrested three major leaders of the peaceful resistance to the US naval base being built there. They are: Village Chief Kang Dong-Kyun, renowned peace activist Brother Song Kang-Ho, and base opposition leader Ko Kwon-Il.

The South Korean Navy (ROKN) and Minister of Justice Lee Gui Nam also issued a notice to Gangjeong village leader Kang Dong-Kyun and 76 other villagers and peace activists. This notice is a threat to these 77 individuals and civil society organizations for disturbing the construction of the naval base. It specifies the following:
(1) These 77 individuals are banned from getting into the public water or land near the Joongduk coastline where the naval base will be constructed.
(2) The notice bans the staff and volunteers from five civil society organizations – Peace-Life Association, Jeju Environmental Association, SPARK, Frontiers, and Gangjeong Village Association – from entering the water and land near the naval base site.
(3) It orders the removal of all facilities from the resistance site within seven days.
(4) In the case that the facilities are not removed, the Navy and Minister of Justice will charge the village leader Mr. Kang for removing these facilities.
(5) The village leader Mr. Kang will be responsible for paying the Navy 5,000,000 Won ($5,000 US dollars) for each case of violation.

The South Korean military is trying to quash the resistance by arresting its leaders and inciting fear among the peaceful villagers who are fighting for their land, community and livelihoods. As one of the activists wrote, “I feel the martial law atmosphere here.”

The truth is: the villagers and their leaders are not alone. There is a growing tide of people from throughout the Korean peninsula and around the world who are behind them.

Please forward this to the media and as many people as possible to update them of what is happening. For those in the United States, please call the South Korean Embassy in Washington, DC and let them know the repression against the villagers communicates to the world that South Korea has returned to the era of authoritarian rule. Please also send an email to U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stevens and let her know that U.S. Forces in Korea oversee the South Koran military, and as American citizens we won’t stand for more military destruction in the name of so-called national security. Email Ambassador Stevens: EmbassySeoulPA@state.gov. Call the South Korean Embassy in Washington: (202) 797-6343

For those in the United Kingdom, please call or write to Ambassador Choo Kyu-Hoo, Embassy of the Republic of Korea, 60 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AJ - 020 72275500 - koreanembinuk@mofat.go.kr

For more information on the Save Jeju Island effort please visit: www.savejejuisland.org

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