Scarlet News:

APN+, ITPC, AFAO, APNSW, ACT UP-Paris, “Civil Society condemn the use of force by Korean security on peaceful demonstrators” Saturday 27th August 2011

Aug 27, 2011 | Media release, News

ICAAP10: Korean activists arrested and threatened with criminalaction for peaceful protest; International activists roughed up bypolice and security.

Please find the pictures online

And the video link

The footage shows how badly the Korean activists were treated by the Securityand the Police.

Police beat and arrested South Korean activists, among them peopleliving with HIV/AIDS, during a PEACEFUL march at the ICAAP in Busan.The march was organised to protest against Free Trade Agreements beingnegotiated across the Asia Pacific region. International and Koreanactivists were jointly marching through the Conference ConventionCenter. Even though the protest was not disrupting any activities ofICAAP, plain clothed government security staff considered the activistsas a threat and arrested them.

Some of the activists were badly hurt while stopping the policearresting their colleagues.

At least three activists have been hospitalised and according toreports, the police have shown up at the hospital and threatened themwith criminal charges. A woman activist, a lawyer working on humanrights was taken away by force in a police car despite the bestefforts of activists to prevent the arrest. Repeated questions as towhy the activists were being arrested went unanswered.

After her release, Suh Yeon Chang, a lawyer working with the KoreanPublic Interest Lawyers Group GON G-GAM, stated that the police didnot inform her of the reason for the arrest, which is illegalaccording to the South Korean criminal law. Even after reaching thepolice station, Chang says, the police were unable to inform her ofthe reason for the arrest. Nor was any legal form about the arrestfrom the scene made available, another requirement of Korean criminallaw. Korean activists noted that this was unfortunately standardpractice.

Activists from Asia-Pacific region were marching peacefully throughthe ICAAP to register their protest against FTAs being negotiatedacross the region with the European Union and the United States. TheFTAs threaten access to generic ARVs and other essential medicinesthrough their demands for increased intellectual property protection.South Korea has signed an FTA with the EU and the US. The US-Korea FTAis yet to be ratified by the South Korean Parliament and activistswere hoping to highlight the dangers of the FTA to access to medicinesthrough their march.

APN+, ITPC, APNSW, AFAO and ACT UP-Paris express their shock andoutrage at the Korean police and security guards’ actions and stronglycondemn the arrests and the beating of the activists that ultimatelyresulted in the hospitalisation of three people. They demand anunconditional apology from the South Korean Government, the SouthKorean Police and the conference security guards and concreteassurance that South Korean activists will face no further harassmentfor peaceful protests.

International activists are also extremely concerned about the fate oftheir Korean colleagues once the ICAAP conference is over. We call onUNAIDS and the Global Fund to take responsibility and follow up toensure there is no further harassment or police action against SouthKorean activists.

Please find the pictures online

And the video link

The footage shows how badly the Korean activists were treated by the Securityand the Police.

Please contact us for high resolution pictures and videos.

Press contacts :

APN+ : Shiba Phurailatpam / shiba.p at / +66 866 000 738ACT UP-PARIS : Pauline Londeix / pauline.londeix at gmail / +33 6 47 98 48 58

Updated 28 August 2011