Sunday, April 09, 2006

Enclosure and the pyeongtaek farmers

"The farming town of Daechuri, Korean for "Great Harvest Village", will never reap its famous rice harvest again, if the United States military continues with the planned expansion of its Camp Humphreys Army base. This concentration of U.S. troops in the Pyeongtaek region of South Korea will destroy the farming communities of Daechuri, Doduri, and others. Over 500 households and thousands of residents live within the zoned areas.The rice farmers have chosen to resist the occupation of their homeland and stand up to the Korean government and the United States military. Facing the imminent onslaught of bulldozers, riot police, and two nation's militaries, the farmers of Pyeongtaek have decided to risk imprisionment and death before they will willingly surrender their homes and their way of life. These peaceful villagers have fought the expansion of the base and the theft of their land through all possible legal means while being deceived and ignored. On February 7th, 2006, the farmers, having realized that the Korean government was not listening to their pleas and would not help them, declared autonomy and renounced their Korean citizenship. They have since been organizing the daily life and the defense of their land and community through general councils, independently of the local government. "

See the Amnesty International Press Release:

"Several human rights activists are being detained after protesting at the forced eviction by riot police of elderly villagers in Pyongtaek, in the north west of South Korea. Their village is subject to an eviction order to allow for the expansion of a neighbouring US army base, Camp Humphreys. The residents of Daechuri village, mostly farmers in their 60s and 70s, suffered bloodied noses and were pushed over while resisting the latest eviction attempt on 15 March and during an earlier attempt to evict them on 6 March. They say the compensation offered will not be enough to buy equivalent land elsewhere and their livelihoods are at stake. "Most of these villagers are very old and it is distressing to hear of force being used against them," said Rajiv Narayan, East Asia researcher at Amnesty International. "Given their age, the police should take special care to ensure they are not hurt and to allow prompt medical treatment if they are -- which does not appear to have been the case so far"."

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