Security Is Criticized For Silencing FarmerA representative of farmers in South Gyeongsang province said Friday that he was dragged out of a presidential luncheon Wednesday when he tried to stand up and express the difficulties of farmers to President Kim Dae-jung. The Blue House said it had no intention to bar him from expressing his opinion.
Kang Gi-gap, 51, head of the South Gyeongsang province branch of the Korean Farmers League, was invited as a representative of farmers to the luncheon, which was held as part of the president's provincial tour. When he stood up after lunch, at around 12:50 p.m., saying he had something to tell the president as a farmer, Mr. Kim's bodyguards took him by both arms, covered his mouth and dragged him away, Mr. Kang contended. He said they apologized once they realized he posed no threat to the president, but Mr. Kang criticized them for silencing him.
"I had a lot of farm work to do, but I participated in the luncheon to tell the president of the difficulties farmers are going through because of plunging rice prices," Mr. Kang said. "What is the point if we were just there to shake hands with him and eat lunch?"
The Blue House defended the bodyguards. "Mr. Kang initially tried to sneak in a placard, which was confiscated by bodyguards. So they were keeping an eye on him and acted promptly, and correctly, when he yelled at the president," said Oh Hong-keun, the Blue House spokesman.
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