Lee lauds people for helping G-20 go off smoothly

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Lee lauds people for helping G-20 go off smoothly

The G-20 Protection and Security Office released a comprehensive report yesterday on demonstrations, terrorism threats and traffic conditions during the G-20 Summit in Seoul, and President Lee Myung-bak praised the people’s concerted efforts to make the historic summit a success.

The report by the office said the police received eight telephoned terrorism threats targeting COEX, the main summit venue in southern Seoul, and Incheon International Airport. All eight callers were investigated and none of them were deemed serious threats. Some were pranks, some were just angry people. The report also listed 57 reports about potential explosives and dangerous substances. Police investigated the reports and found no danger.

According to the report, while more than 3,500 local and international activists took part in rallies on Nov. 11, they ended peacefully without major clashes with riot police. The immigration office confiscated some items at the airport from international activists, which were intended to be used in demonstrations.

Many people worried that the summit would attract large demonstrations and bring chaos to Seoul. But the office noted with surprise that there were no G-20 related rallies on Nov. 12, the last day of the summit.

The office said traffic around Samseong Station, including the Yeongdong-daero boulevard near COEX, was down 30 percent from an average day thanks to Seoul residents who abided the city government’s voluntary no-driving policy. The city asked citizens with even-numbered and odd-numbered license plates to leave their cars at home on Nov. 11 and 12, respectively.

“I want to give the highest praise to a mature citizenry for the successful hosting of the G-20 Summit,” President Lee, who was in Yokohama for the APEC Summit, was quoted as saying by Blue House spokeswoman Kim Hee-jung.

When Lee was told that 69.4 percent of drivers voluntarily abided by the no-drive campaign, Lee ordered his aides to prepare an event to reward Seoul residents. Lee said that in the past, governments enforced mandatory no-drive campaigns.

“The odd-even car policy was purely on a voluntary basis this time, despite some experts and even my aides being skeptical about it,” Lee said. Lee said that thanks to the summit the government now knows that people have an internationalized and mature mindset.

“At [the G-20 Summit] in Canada, there were clashes between riot police and activists and some were bleeding,” Lee said. “The Seoul summit went well, without trouble.”

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]
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