According to a report in the Hankyoreh Korean newspaper on Sept. 2, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul expressed concern about a recent ruling by the Seoul administrative court saying that people are permitted to conduct rallies and demonstrations within 100 meters of the embassy. The embassy filed a written request to the Seoul Jongno Police Station, which is responsible for protecting the embassy, for the police to ensure the safety of embassy personnel and facilities.
According to the report, an anti-U.S. and pro-North Korea group filed a lawsuit with the administrative court against the Jongno Police Station , insisting that police prohibition of rallies is unjust. As a result, the court, citing special provisions for laws related to rallies and demonstrations, ruled that “people are allowed to conduct rallies and demonstrations as long as they do not develop into large-scale protests.”
After the ruling, the Jongno Police station has reportedly filed an appeal and continues to prohibit rallies around the embassy.
As is often the case with left-wing newspapers, the report criticizes the embassy by saying, “The U.S. Embassy is ignoring a court ruling that people are allowed to conduct rallies,” and “The embassy is intervening into South Korea’s internal affairs.”
The Japanese Embassy in Seoul, which is located near the U.S. Embassy, has also been troubled by an unlawfully erected and inappropriate comfort woman statue in front of the embassy and repeated anti-Japanese rallies there. The Jongno Police Station, which is also responsible for protecting the Japanese Embassy, has permitted people to conduct anti-Japanese rallies around the embassy under the pretext that such rallies are “press conferences,” despite the fact that the people involved refer to them as “rallies” and sometimes over 1,000 people participate in them.
In the past, a statue of a girl who was killed in an accident involving a U.S. military vehicle was erected without permission near the U.S. Embassy. Several months later, the local ward office removed the statue on the grounds that it “blocked pedestrian traffic.”
In contrast, the comfort woman statue erected in front of the Japanese Embassy has been left in place even though it was erected without permission and disparages a foreign mission in violation of international laws. This is obviously discrimination against Japan. (Abridged)