SOUTH KOREA – Seoul Square barricaded: Return democracy to people!
15 June 2009 1:46 am
To ban mourners of the former president of South Korea from entering the Seoul Square, which has seen the centre of democracy movement in South Korea, the police barricaded the square. People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), FORUM-ASIA member in South Korea, launched the "Return agora to people" campaign. Below is their press statement posted on 8 June.
ban mourners of the former president of South Korea from entering the
Seoul Square, which has seen the centre of democracy movement in South
Korea, the police barricaded the square. People's
Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), FORUM-ASIA member in
South Korea, launched the "Return agora to people" campaign. Below is
their press statement posted on 8 June.
A campaign for freedom of assembly is launched on the name of
'Return Agora to People, Return Democracy to People'. The campaign is
for returning the Seoul Square to people by ourselves since the Seoul
Square, which is the very symbol of democracy and freedom of assembly,
has been frequently blocked by the police force arbitrarily.
The Seoul Square, the Symbol of the Democratization
The Seoul Square is a symbolic place throughout history. The Seoul
Square was the place for people gathering when democratization movement
reached the dramatic point in 1980s, especially on June 10, 1987. Last
year, people also gathered to the Seoul Square with holding a candle
against the import of US beef which may include BSE (bovine spongiform
Lately, people gathered to the Seoul Square for mourning for the
former president Roh Moohyun's demise. However, the Police barricaded
the Seoul Square with numerous police buses and no one was permitted to
walk into or trespass the Seoul Square for more than 12 days except the
funeral day, as saying that there was a high possibility of "illegal"
protest but without an evidence and legal base. As strong criticism
arose, the Police buses were slipped out of the Seoul Square on June 4,
but there is still high possibility that the Police barricade the
Square to prevent a civil assemble.
The square can be meaningful only if it opens to the public. The
barricaded square cannot function as a square. However, the Seoul
Square has been frequently blocked since the Lee Myungbak's
inauguration. The Seoul City municipal government, which comes from the
governmental party, the Grand National Party', has disapproved any
assembles because those assembles were not suit to the purpose of
square-building, which were judged by its arbitral standards.
Although an assemble is only a matter of notice, the police
arbitrarily permit or disapprove every single assemble. A possibility
of protest can be neither an excuse nor justification for blocking an
assemble by barricading the Seoul Square. The freedom of assembly is
clearly mentioned on the Constitution.
Campaign for Freedom of Assembly: 'Return Agora to People, Return Democracy to People'
We take a legal action against illegal barricade by the Police. We
will claim for damage as the Police maliciously disturbed the Roh's
mourning ceremonies. A constitutional petition will be submitted to the
Constitutional Court since our fundamental rights were violated by the
We campaign for revising of the Seoul City municipal ordinance
related to the uses of the Seoul Square. It includes the introduction
of the notice system for the use of the Seoul Square, not a permission
system. while extending the purpose of the use of the Seoul Square
which currently just covers a cultural event. A web-site will be made
for publicizing the Campaign and collect signatures necessary for
revision of the ordinance.
To read the complete statement, please click here (PSPD website).