Activists to protest at G20 meet

2010-11-05 07:54

South Korean activists said today they would stage a protest march on the opening day of next week’s G20 Seoul summit and urged police not to risk violence by breaking it up.

They said 10 000 to 20 000 people are likely to join the march in the South Korean capital where Group of 20 leaders will gather next Thursday for the start of the two-day summit.

It was unclear whether protesters would try to approach the meeting venue, a convention centre in southern Seoul, which police plan to cordon off.

Speaking at a press conference, activists urged police not to halt their rallies.

“Violence erupts when the exercise of the constitutional right to free speech and assembly is hampered,” said Kim Young-Hoon, president of the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.

“We strongly urge the government to act rationally to prevent peaceful rallies and marches from becoming violent.”

A total of 83 groups of activists and labour leaders have launched the Korean People’s G20 Response Action, aimed to ensure the voices of the grassroots and workers are heard during the gathering.

Oh Sung-Kyu, a representative of the movement, said they hoped to gather 50 000 people in a protest rally this Sunday outside Seoul City Hall.

“We call upon the G20 to regulate financial capital, which has brought suffering to so many people, to tax speculators and to use the proceedings to expand welfare,” the action group said.

Police and the military are on high alert for the meeting of world leaders including US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Around 50,000 police will be mobilised.

A 2.2-metre-high concrete and plastic security barricade will encircle the summit venue.

The government has passed a special law, allowing the declaration of some areas as off-limits to protesters and the use of the military to reinforce police if necessary.

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