Koreans from the US, protesting WTO meetings in Hong Kong with Korean farmers... And writing about the experience.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mass Arrests!

1:30 AM HK time (12:30 PM NY time)
WTO protesters (too-jeng-dan) seem to be at the foot of the WTO convention center and they are completely surrounded by riot police. There are around 900-1000 with no one allowed in or out. The police are planning to arrest everyone inside the perimeter. The too-jeng-dan have not had food since lunch previous day. They cannot even use the bathroom. But their spirits are as high as can be with non-stop chanting and singing and banging on drums.
Earlier in the day rubber bullets were reported to have been fired and some were hospitalized.
The police are readying buses to transport the 1000 or so too-jeng-dan. They are also preparing tear gas squads for the charge in.

3:00 AM HK time (2:00PM NY time)
Got a call from e. She states calmly that they will all be arrested, but tells me not to worry because there are many of them. They have the power in numbers. The HK police cannot do anything to them!

3:30 AM HK time (2:30PM NY time)
Spoke with E again.
Police are all very young kids, inexperienced. Mostly they seem very frightened.
E was able to translate between the chief of police and the too-jeng-dan. It's strange but the chief of police seems very sympathetic to the farmers’ cause and understands why they are protesting but still explains that he must restore order.
The HK police have no precedent for such violent and mass arrests so they are very procedural and everything is taking a lot of time.
The protesters have agreed to be arrested, but one by one. There are tons of reporters and cameras covering this whole event. The WTO too-jeng-dan have already made their voices heard and will not struggle when taken.
They are being taken one by one and the HK police have promised to be very gentle with them. Largely the HK police are very young, frightened and civil at the same time and it’s chief has so far been cooperative. (who knows how this will really play out though).

The WTO too-jeng-dan has so far been pepper sprayed, tear gassed, beat on with batons, electric batonned, water cannoned (they also mixed in pepper gas formula in the water to burn eyes & skin when sprayed), exposed to chilly HK winter winds, hunger and fatigue…so show a little bit of wear but they are still in strong fighting spirits.

D who went out earlier to the hospital to translate for an injured protester was arrested by the police. Same thing also happened to J when she went to the hospital. Otherwise the rest of the KEEPers are all together inside the perimeter. KEEPers are hungry and tired but are very inspired to be part of this historical struggle. They will never forget this experience.

That’s it for now. If there's more I will let you know.



Blogger Jamie said...

Great coverage, keep it up. We've been linking over here a lot from the twokoreas.blogspot.com blog. Hope you don't mind. J

5:57 AM


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