Thursday, March 02, 2006

Follow-up to 'Death of a Farmer'

In the 'Birthday' post, the article about Jeon Yong-cheol's death was brought up, which reminded me that I'd found a number of articles that followed up on the deaths of the farmers, but hadn't gotten around to posting them. I decided to add them to the original post as updates, but thought I'd post them here as well. After the blame was put on the police for the deaths of two farmers due to injuries received in the Nov. 15 protest, the police chief was forced to resign and the police pressured to change how they acted. This led to protests by supporters of the police (and in the media) who blamed protesters for the violence. A government panel to promote peaceful protests was formed, and an anti-base protest which was carried on peacefully with restraint on both sides was lauded as, perhaps, the beginning of a new era. Though I'm not entirely certain it will last, it would seem the accusations and blame hurled at Korean protesters and riot police over the past few months may have led both sides to reflect upon their tactics.

Here's a timeline, from where the Jeon Yong-cheol article left off:

Dec. 16: The police finally admit the possibility that Jeon Yong-cheol died as the result of being hit by riot police at a farmers' protest.

Dec. 18: Hong Deok-pyo, a farmer injured during the November 15 Yeouido protest, dies of his injuries.

Dec. 26: The National Human Rights Commission concludes that Jeon Yong-cheol and Hong Deok-pyo died from injuries inflicted by riot police during the Nov. 15 rally.

Dec. 27: President Roh apologizes on television for the actions of the police, but also criticizes the violent actions of the protesters. Police Chief Huh Joon-young also apologizes, but refuses to voluntarily step down.

Dec. 28: Police Chief Huh is pressed to resign by members of Uri party and the DLP.

Dec. 29: Despite saying he would not, Police Chief Huh resigns, saying he did not want to "burden the administration".

Jan. 7 & 8: Families of riot police hold protests against violent protests.

January 15: A plan to have riot police wear name tags while on duty is announced by the National Police Agency. It draws a great deal of criticism before being withdrawn.

Jan. 19: A government panel is formed to promote peaceful rallies, saying a policy package is due in April.

Feb 12: A protest in Pyeongtaek against the relocation of US bases there is celebrated for being non-violent.

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