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Peace plane flies in for protest rally

Protesters step-up campaign against controversial naval base

Peace plane flies in for protest rally
The 'Peace Concert' to support opposition to a naval base on Jeju island on Friday
Francesco Ahn, Jeju

September 5, 2011

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Supporters of a protest against a naval base being built on a popular resort island dubbed the “Island of Peace” added their voice to growing anger against the project on Saturday after touching down in what they called their “Plane of Peace.”

Around 190 people arrived on Jeju Island from Seoul to show solidarity with villagers from Gangjeong, where the base is being built, and with others opposed to the project.

At a press conference at the airport they condemned the arrest of around 30 activists and villagers on Friday, calling it an “attack on democracy.”

They called on the government and the police to release those being held and halt construction of the base.

Andrew Kim Duck-jin, secretary-general of the Catholic Human Rights Committee which organized the flight said the construction lacks all “procedural and environmental justification” and will consequently “bury nature under concrete.”

After the conference, they joined around 2,000 islanders who converged on the village on “Buses of Peace” to issue their “Declaration of a Peaceful Pilgrimage.”

“The cries of nature and those living around the village called on us to come here,” the declaration said.

“We are opposed to the base because it will destroy nature, a people’s way of life and could ultimately lead to war,” the declaration added.

After the “pilgrimage,” they attended a “Peace Concert” where more declarations of support and solidarity were pledged to the villagers.

Before returning to Seoul, Kim said that his committee plans to fly more planes to the island from October 1 and also send “Ships of Peace.”

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