2 foreign activists deported for protests on Jeju

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2 foreign activists deported for protests on Jeju

JEJU ? Two foreign activists who allegedly destroyed public property during protests against the construction of a contentious naval base on Jeju Island will be deported from the country, the Ministry of Justice said yesterday.

Briton Angie Zelter is accused of breaking into the construction site in Gangjeong Village on the southern tip of the resort island Friday evening after cutting down barbed-wire fences, according to the Seogwipo Police Precinct.

Meanwhile, French activist Benjamain Monnet allegedly trespassed onto the naval base construction site by sailing on a kayak at 4:50 p.m. on Monday and climbing a crane, impeding the construction work for three hours.

Earlier in the day, the police requested arrest warrants for the two but the ministry decided to deport them instead, citing that their crimes violated the immigration law and made them subject to deportation.

The base project, first launched in 2007 and scheduled to be completed by 2014, has been one of the most controversial issues in South Korea as local residents, opposition parties and other environmental activists have staged strong oppositions against it.

Tensions escalated when the Navy and a local construction firm blew up part of a rocky outcropping in the coastal area known as Gureombi last Wednesday, initiating a key part of the construction work.

Zelter, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is most notably known for spearheading efforts to tear down the fences around U.S. military bases in Britain in the 1980s. She has been arrested more than 100 times in half a dozen countries during her work as a peace activist.

Police also sought a warrant for a South Korean activist, only known by the surname Kim, on charges of obstructing police from executing their duties during protests along with Monnet on Monday.

Meanwhile, the police said they have released 13 local activists and residents who were arrested on the same day.

The police have arrested 68 activists since the construction work began on March 7. Out of the 68, police said, 12 were Roman Catholic priests and Protestant ministers.

Yonhap

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