* Thankful to Bruce Gagnon who posted the news in his blog(클릭)
and J.D. who sent a congratulation message.
On March 15, 2011, the Jeju Island Council made a historic vote on the resolution on the cancellation of the past bill on the annulment of the absolute preservation areas in the Gangjeong village. Among the total 41 Island council members, 38 were present and 24 were in their seats and among them 22 members from the opposition parties of the Democratic Party, Democratic Labor Party etc. cast vote in favor of re-resolution. The 12 members from the Grand Nation Party, now minority in the current council had expressed not to join the vote, in opposition of the re-resolution.
The news made the Gangjeong villagers and civic organization members very happy since the resolution would make the navy’s currently forceful construction illegal at least in the legislative way. The resolution itself cannot stop the construction, which should be agreed by the administrative field. The current Woo Keun-Min Island governor, already expressing his sorry on the resolution after the vote, requested the Island council to make resolution again, which would not be easy. But the resolution on March 15 is expected to some influence the final review of the court on the lawsuit on the absolute preservation areas which the villagers made appeal on Dec. 27 after their first court decision on Dec. 15, 2010 when the lawsuit itself was dismissed by the local court with the court saying that the villagers were unqualified as the plaintiffs. For more detail, see here.
The victory was for the first time in the Gangjeong villagers’ nearly 4 years’ hard struggle against naval base construction plan in their village and Jeju Island. Some villagers shed tear in happiness. But the real struggle is from now on, Kang Dong-Kyun, the village mayor says. See the below video.
The Island council’s vote on March 15 will lead the struggle to upper stage in which the people should pressure the Island government to withdraw from the naval base with governor's direct authority and should fight against the plan of the central government and navy, to save their Island, up from their struggle within the Island level.
Gangjeong villagers' first victory, March 15, 2011
After the Jeju Island council’s March 15, 2011 vote by which the resolution on the cancellation of the past bill by the ex-island council who had annulled the absolute preservation areas in the village for the sake of naval base construction in snatched way Dec. 2009, was passed, the villagers and civic organizations gathered in delight, being proud of their first victory for nearly four years’ hard struggles, in front of the Island council,
The Gangjeong mayor led the people’s slogans. The slogans were rhymed between him and the other people as the below:
Mayor: We/ People: Can do it!
Mayor: We/ People: Did it!
Mayor: The persistent/ People: will win!
Mayor: Naval base/ People: absolutely No!
Scene of the Island Council's vote on March 15, 2011
* Image source: Sisa Jeju, March 15, 2011 시사 제주, 2011년 3월 15일
* Image source: Headline Jeju, March 15, 2011 헤드라인 제주, 2011년 3월 15일
Why the annulment of the absolute preservation areas in the Gangjeong village was wrong?
On March 15, the Gangjeong villagers and members of civic organizations watched the TV on which the Island council’s general meeting was being screened in real time from 2pm in the Island people’ s room in the Island council building. The meeting dealt with an important agenda on the issue of the absolute preservation areas in the Gangjeong village. The ex-Island council has passed the agreement bill on the annulment of absolute preservation areas in the Gangjeong village in snatched way in Dec. 2009 so that the naval base construction could be enforced in the village since then.
Oh Young-Hoon, member of the Democratic Party, the main opposition party spoke about what went wrong in 2009. In this segment of his speech, he said that The absolute preservation areas in the Gangjeong village extend nearly to 105,295 pyeong ( * 1 pyeong= 3.3 square meters). He reminded that when the ex-Island governor submitted the bill to the ex-Island council in 2009, he had not gone through the process of villagers’ agreement, which was wrong because the villagers’ agreement should have been the premise to submit the bill. Oh said that was why the current island council wanted to fix the wrongdoings by the ex-Island council by cancelling the past bill that annulled the absolute preservation areas in the village.
People kept the protests in front of the Island council before the Island council's vote on March 15.(Three photos in the top by Kim Min-Soo)
Absolutely no naval base which is for the war base! The Jeju Island government and Island council should hear the Gangjeong villagers bloody cry!(by the Gangjeong villagers)
Sea reclamation in the 60,000 pyeong of the Gangjeong coast, the representing scenery of the Jeju Island?
We cannot give up our beautiful nature to the military base!
Workers have been continuing their 113th daily sit-in without a tent in front of the Island council building on March 15, 2011. A Gangjeong villager being in solidarity with them.
People watching the Island council's general meeting with anxiety through the TV before the vote result on March 15, 2011
Some Construction went on March 15, 2011
Naval base, absolutely, No!
People, including the Gangjeong villagers gathered in front of the Jeju Island Council building in the evening of March 14, 2011. People shout! Naval base, absolutely, No!(Video by Kim Min-Soo on March 14, 2011)