Indigenous Islanders Continue Fight Against 2nd Airport on Jeju Island, South Korea–Hunger Strike Passes its 40th Day

Youth and other activists from some twenty civic groups have joined five villages in their struggle against a planned ‘aerotropolis’ on Jeju Island, South Korea.

Still waiting for a statement from the national government’s Ministry of Land and Transportation, residents of South Korea’s largest island continue their fight against the proposed second airport project. The project would push hundreds of locals off of their land and have the more drastic effect of radically transforming the island, environmentally and socio-economically.

Many involved in the struggle expressed fear that last week’s compromise met by the opposition committee and local government won’t be backed by the national authorities. This compromise would grant a reevaluation of the initial area assessment.

A number of candlelight vigils and other actions are ongoing. Saturday’s vigil marked the fortieth day of Kim Young-bae’s hunger strike. Kim is the vice-chair of the 2nd airport opposition committee.

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Hunger Strike

Kyoung Bae Kim continues his hunger strike, in a camp set up by residents of the five villages directly affect by the ‘aerotropolis project’. This Saturday marked the fortieth day of Kim’s hunger strike. The camp is located in a grassy area just across from the provincial office.

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2nd Airport opposition vice-chair, Kim Kyoung Bae, on 39th day of hunger strike

 

Two years prior, when their struggle ensued, opposition was once limited to residents of the five united villages. Action against the airport has now blossomed into a robust movement. Island-wide, residents are beginning to show strong concern.

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The first march two years prior consisted of mostly elderly women abalone divers and farmers from the area. Many civic groups and youth have since joined the struggle.

 

For an in-depth view of the situation in English, I’ve linked below to antiaero.org’s comprehensive write-up.

From antiaero.org:

Plans for a second airport in Jeju, an egg-shaped island off the south coast of South Korea, have met with vigorous and sustained resistance since the sudden announcement of the project two years ago, in November 2015. The proposed site is in Seongsan on the east coast of the island and residents of the five villages that would be affected, losing their homes and farmland – Susan-ri, Sinsan-ri, Nansan-ri, Goseong-ri and Onpyeong-ri – were not even consulted. Resistance has intensified in recent weeks and on 10th October a group of residents and representatives of civic groups opposing the new airport assembled a protest tent outside the Jeju island government hall and began a sit-in. The vice-chair of Seongsan people’s committee against the 2nd Jeju airport project, Kim Kyung-bae, began an indefinite hunger strike and fellow protesters began relay fasting to show their support.

 

Update:

On November 20th, Kyoung-bae Kim, vice chair of the opposition committee, broke his fast after 42 days. He made a short statement before being admitted to a local hospital where he is receiving close care. Members of the airport opposition committee held a press conference announcing more aggressive measures which include nightly vigils. A number of other gatherings have been planned.

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rose Bridger says:

    Reblogged this on .

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