Deachu-ri Update — Police invade Daechuri and Doduri, demolish over 60 houses

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September 13, 2006
Police invade Daechuri and Doduri, demolish over 60 houses
22,000 riot police and 450 contracted construction workers and thugs invaded and occupied the villages of Daechuri and Doduri today at dawn. Police demolition equipment managed to wipe out 68 of the 90 houses that the Korean Ministry of Defense had threatened to destroy, but villagers successfully defended some houses.
The Ministry of Defense had promised to only destroy empty houses. But several squatted and renovated houses, as well as one long-term resident’s house, were knocked down. A backhoe also destroyed a farming warehouse with expensive farming equipment inside, including a 100,000 USD tractor.
Children from Daechuri were unable to go to school today, because of the police lockdown of the the roads leading to town. In the village, police controls kept elderly residents from entering their homes and fields, and 10 residents received minor injuries at the hands of the police and their contractors. Some of the contractors also insulted (“bitch”, etc) elderly residents who were fighting to stop the demolitions or to reach their homes.
Many outside supporters were kept from entering the village by tight
police checkpoints over the past several days, and 21 were arrested this
morning trying to enter to defend the village. Yet despite their
overwhelming numerical disadvantage and several arrests in Daechuri,
villagers and supporters struggled all day to defend the village. The
police’s first target in Daechuri was the Human Rights house. Several
human rights activists had tied themselves to the lookout tower built by
residents on the roof of the building, 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 tied themselves onto the roofs of other
buildings kept the police from destroying 13 houses in Daechuri. At one
house right at the entrance to town, police stood off for hours with two
people sitting on the pointed top of the house’s sloping roof. Elderly
villagers hurried to surround the house, and one villager climbed onto the
roof with the activists. After several failed attempts to force the two
activists down, police promised to let them go free (and then destroy the
house) if they came down on their own. But villagers had already learned
during previous attacks what a cop’s promise is worth, so they stood their
ground and insisted that the police leave. Eventually the police were
forced to give up and leave the house standing and activists free.
Although the attack was a heavy blow, especially the overwhelming
destruction of houses in the village of Doduri, the villagers have taken
their successful defense of some of the houses as a victory. Residents
played traditional Korean drum music in the streets after the police
finally left, and villagers have reaffirmed their resistance to the base
at the continuing nightly candlelight vigils. As the Ministry of Defense’s
October 31 eviction deadline approaches, villagers continue to work in
their gardens, organize the defense of their land, and prepare for a major demonstration in Seoul on September 24. Residents and supporters in Korea are
asking for solidarity actions internationally on that day, especially
urgent since the threatened deadline is only a month and a half away.
until we post our photos, you can see some photos here: