[EDITORIALS]What guidelines?The residents of Buan, North Jeolla province, who oppose the construction of a nuclear waste disposal facility in their neighborhood, turned violent ― throwing Molotov cocktails, exploding liquified gas cylinders, throwing hydrochloric acid and brandishing tridents and sickles. They blocked the traffic on a highway and attacked an ambulance carrying wounded riot policemen. They also threw Molotov cocktails into medical facilities. Behavior like this is a crime against humanity that is forbidden even to military forces in times of war. Although the area around Buan turned into a scene of anarchy, the government has not restored order.
Those actions go against the four guidelines on illegal demonstrations that President Roh Moo-hyun presented at the cabinet meeting Tuesday, and it is already clear that the government is being pushed back. President Roh told his cabinet, “Make clear that nothing can be achieved through violent demonstrations. And stop negotiations with groups that stage violent demonstrations, even if negotiations are underway.” Notwithstanding the presidential directives, why do the police look at illegal demonstrations with folded arms? Is it not because of such an attitude by the police that violent demonstrations are staged everywhere?
The residents of Buan, especially the group that opposes the decision to establish a nuclear waste facility there, must return to reason and hold a dialogue with the government. The residents’ goals cannot be achieved through violent means, nor can violence be justified. If the present terror atmosphere persists, such as the beating of a restaurant owner who sold food to riot police and threatening the staff of a building that allowed policemen to use the toilets there, the residents of Buan will be isolated from the rest of the nation. Buan residents must stop these violent demonstrations immediatley.
The government must act firmly and restore order. If it tries to make a deal with those who incite violence, national discipline will perish. The government must get the situation under control by providing an effective plan and persuading residents to accept it.