Police ban anti-Harris rally in front of embassy

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Police ban anti-Harris rally in front of embassy

Two pro-North Korea leftist groups were banned from holding a joint rally in front of the U.S. Embassy in protest of U.S. Ambassador to Korea Harry Harris Friday afternoon, the Jongno Police Precinct said on Thursday.

One of the groups, whose name translates as People’s Sovereignty Solidarity, posted a notice on its Facebook page Monday saying that it would hold a rally with the Youth Party against U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris at 4 p.m. on Friday for his “interference in domestic affairs,” and “demand to raise upkeep for U.S. Forces Korea by fivefold.”

The group also posted a picture showing someone slicing Harris’s neck and announced they had received some ideas about how to behead the ambassador via Facebook. They added members would stage a public performance during the rally on the idea that got the largest numbers of “likes.”

Some examples provided by the group included “pulling out Harris’s mustache hairs one by one” and “piercing his mouth with nail clippers.”

The Jongno Police Precinct on Thursday banned the rally in front of the U.S. Embassy on the grounds that it violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and might increase civil insecurity. The closest the rally can be held to the U.S. Embassy is in front of exit 2 of Gwanghwamun Station, which is about 80 meters (263 feet) from the building, said the police. Any performances that recreate violence, such as beheadings, are also banned, and anyone who violates such rules will be arrested.

According to the Assembly and Demonstration Act of Korea, no outdoor assemblies or demonstrations can be staged within a 100-meter radius of the offices or residences of heads of diplomatic missions in Korea.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations also stipulates that the state is “under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.”

BY CHEA SARAH, KWEN YU-JIN [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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