Protests that go beyond the lawProtesters against the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement have gone beyond legality. Ten days ago, militant demonstrators turned the National Assembly into a chaotic scene of mayhem.
About 100 activists broke the police line and jumped over the walls to get into the assembly.
With this action, the symbol of a democratic system has been violated.
A couple of days ago, a police security guard in front of the National Assembly building was beaten by a mob of activists protesting against the FTA.
He was stepped on and kicked when he fell to the ground while trying to disperse the group. He had been merely doing his job, but was brutally hit and humiliated in broad daylight.
He could have been seriously injured if his peers had not pulled him out of the ring in time. And it was not just one police officer who was hurt.
Justice and the law enforcement system have come under attack and been violated. We cannot expect law and order in a society where police are kicked around.
Legal demonstrations and congregations should be guaranteed as a basic tenet of the Constitution. Rallies and demonstrations used to express collective opinion, such as those protesting the free trade deal, cannot be an exception. But they must fall within the limits of the law.
Expressions of dissent that go beyond the legal framework are not a right, but an act of violence.
Gaining on and beating a police officer who is trying to administer law and order is a criminal action. The protesters who were involved in the violence must therefore be prosecuted.
The police must conduct a thorough investigation and take legal action to punish the violent protesters in order to restore their authority.
They should not be lenient with the protesters, as they were with the protestors who broke the law by invading the National Assembly.
The police have photos of the violent scene. They must now take stern action in order to send a message to the militant protesters. We must not tolerate violent and illegal protests, otherwise the authority of the law will be in jeopardy.