The Road to Daechuri

The Road to Daechuri

On Sunday, June 18th, 2006 approximately 5,000 people from around Korea marched in Pyeongtaek toward Daechuri and Doduri, vocalizing their opposition to the expansion of the American base there. Approximately 200 supporters were inside the village, and managed to march from Daechuri to Doduri and back to Daechuri, despite heavy police opposition. College students in inflatable rafts sailed out onto the river between the main area of Pyeongtaek and the villages, apparently to hold a demonstration on the water. They then crossed the river and into the village as the police stood by, helpless, and very much otherwise occupied with the 5,000 marchers who were all marching on the villages from various parts of the area. It is reported that the Korean national police force mustered for the day numbered some 11,000 men. There are no reports of violence or serious injuries. Many have reported that the days' action has reinvigorated the movement to save the farming villages, which was dealt a major blow on May 4th, with the destruction of the Daechuri primary school and the laying of Concertina razor wire around the villages. Many villagers also expressed their renewed hope that they will, indeed be able to keep their homes.
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The objective was to reach the Village of Daechuri - which is scheduled for demolition in order to expand the U.S. military base Camp Humphreys. The rally was in support of the Korean famers who refuse to move from their homes in Daechuri. The government denied a permit for the peaceful demonstration and posted 10,000 police and soldiers around the village to prevent the marchers from reaching their destination. All roads to Daechuri were blocked so the marchers were forced to try to reach Daechuri by walking through the fields near the village.
The marchers broke into smaller groups, using guerilla tactics to break through the police lines. My group made it's way to the far left flank. We ran into a wall of barbed wire, barricades and soldiers.

UPDATE: One group reports that they breached the police line and made contact with the villagers in Doduri:
"I'm very happy that we could win the policemen and got to Doduri(the village is close by Daechuri) and we met the participants of the rally." Several Daechuri people continue to play the "samulnori(a folk music accompanied by four percussion instruments)" at night with happiness in their minds. It seems that they are preparing a bigger rally in july.

Here are my photos:

 http://www.booksellersunion.org/korea2006/daechuri/index.html