[EDITORIALS]Buan needs persuadingThe protest rallies of Buan residents, who are demanding cancellation of a plan to build a nuclear waste-treatment facility in their territory, are growing violent. After blockading a highway, they burned police vehicles, smashed windows, assaulted reporters who covered the rallies and prevented their children from attending their school classes. As they have used such highly inflammable materials as liquefied petroleum gas and Molotov cocktails, there is concern that the situation in Buan will get out of control.
If the residents are allowed to continue their actions, it is likely that the violence that broke out on Anmyeon island in November 1990 will recur. At that time, residents resorted to such extreme measures as burning police stations and vehicles, assaulting civil servants and refusing to send their children to school, and the plan for a waste treatment facility there was scrapped.
We urge Buan residents to return to normal and refrain from violent demonstrations. If they resort to violence, the validity of their demand will be halved. Issues like government compensation, in which the residents have a keen interest, can be discussed through dialogue with the appropriate authorities. Calling people’s attention to the situation in Buan can be achieved through peaceful demonstrations. Violent demonstrations cannot lead to a favorable public opinion of Buan. Civic groups taking part in the rally should keep this in mind. They should stop taking irresponsible actions.
If the government is only busy with stopping demonstrations, what it will get is confrontation with the residents and no solution. If it pushes ahead, bound by the president’s statement that “it will be promoted as planned,” construction will be difficult. The Ministry of Industry and Energy and the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. must persuade the residents. The residents’ council has shown a willingness to have a dialogue with the government when the truth about police overaction against demonstrators is verified. It will be a good opportunity to cool down and explain the necessity of building the waste facility.