Peace Village demolished for U.S military base

According to the report at Days in Daechuri, 22,000 riot police had demolished more than 60 houses at Daechuri and Doduri, Pyeongtaek, in order to clear the land for the future U.S. military base yesterday (13 of September).

Daechuri is a peace village built in Feburary 2005 by local villagers, churches, artists and peace activists, who oppose the expansion of U.S military base in Pyeongtaek. In the past one and a half year, they tried very hard to restore the peaceful life in Daechuri by ensuring the supply of water, electricity, renovating village houses and cultivating land.

In yesterday's operation, according to Day in Daechuri, "the police's first target in Daechuri was the Human Rights house. Several human rights activists had tied themselves to the lookout tower on the roof of the building and threw out the ladder, and residents barricaded the building to keep the cops from coming up. But the police eventually managed to enter, and dragged out and arrested the activists before smashing up the house and all of the beautiful murals that it contained. But around 40 other people who climbed onto the roofs of other buildings kept the police from destroying 13 houses in Daechuri."

October 30 will be the last date for the Government's forced evictions. KCPT (Pan-S.Korea solution Committee against US base extension in Pyeongtaek) has called for an international peace march on September 24 to stop the forced eviction of Pyeongtaek Farmers and expansion of military base.

The proposal for the military base expansion was put forward in 2001 by the U.S government under its Global military strategy. In December 2004, the Korean Government agreed to double the size (originally 1,513 ha) of the Pyeongtaek base in order to increase and maximize advanced technological capabilities of USFK into a rapid deployment force for the Asia-Pacific region. 1,372 villagers have to be relocated. In return, dispersed military bases around Seoul would be closed down and the U.S. will reduce its present level 37,000 troop force to 25,000 troops by the end of 2008.

Ironically, all the expenses of the military expansion is to be shouldered by the Korean Government. According to a local villager, Mr Bang, Pyeongtaek land costs 500,000 won to one million won per pyeong. However, the government offered him 150,000 won to leave,“I can give my land to my country. But the police with their sticks and shields are saying that they will make a base for Americans. I cannot agree to that.”

The Ministry of Defense has launched various attacks to occupy the peace village:

On 6 of March, 2006, the Ministry of Defense tried to occupy Daechuri Primary School.

On 15 of March, 2006, 4,000 polices invaded the village, some peace activists were injured, 3 villagers were hospitalized. Three human rights activists were arrested.

On 6 of April, 2006, 5,000 riot polices and 700 non-uniformed men invaded the village, destroyed thousands of acres of fertile farmland and cut out water supply.

On 9 of July, police attacked peaceful demonstrators and arrested 45 of them.

On 14 of September, police demolished more than 60 houses.

Photos taken from Ohmynews and Days in Daechuri

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