[EDITORIALS]Violent protests must endThe violent protests by some members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions two days ago are clearly illegal acts. In a democracy, a legal demonstration is guaranted. It means that the reported time and purpose of the protest should be honored. This is vital in a democracy to maintain public order and keep everyone safe.
Throwing rocks and engaging in street battles with the police, who are only trying to enforce order, are acts that need to be dealt with through the full force of the law.
The union’s demand for the abolition of reparations and the provisional seizure of workers’ properties as well as fair treatment for part-time workers, could be conveyed through peaceful means. It’s hard to understand why the union chose to stage a street demonstration, creating a traffic problem for other citizens. When it was near rush-hour, was it necessary to occupy the streets of the Cheonggyecheon area, which are already crowded by ongoing construction? Why did union members supposedly attending a peaceful demonstration carry sticks?
Recent protests, such as the one by Buan residents who opposed a nuclear waste facility and the student organization Hanchongryun’s trespassing into the U.S. Army’s shooting range, turned violent. Why is that so?
It is the police’s fault. If demonstrations exceed their reported time and location, the police should take stringent measures to enforce the rules. Demonstrators will have to be dispersed and whoever resists must face the consequences. But because the police let unlawful demonstrations go unpunished, we see only more rocks thrown and sticks in the hand of violent demonstrators.
A nation’s discipline can only be upheld when those who break the law are punished. If the idea that public power can be ignored becomes widespread, a country will only descend into oblivion. It is hoped that the police did not purposely hold back just to read the political situation and see which way the wind is blowing. In order for the police to execute their power properly, an appropriate budget and manpower are needed as well.