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Multinational Stores Urged to Close Over G20 Summit

Police said Monday that they will ask multinational businesses operating near the Seoul COEX, a venue for the November G20 summit in Seoul, to close over the event`s period Nov. 11-12.

An alert will also be issued for such businesses over fears that protesters could target U.S.-based companies such as McDonald`s and Starbucks.

“Violent protests targeting U.S.-based companies occurred not just in the G20 Toronto summit but also in every host city where the summit was held,” a police source said. “Since we believe that Korea is no exception, we will deploy police near those stores to prevent protesters from sabotaging operations.”

Mc Donalds

Dozens of multinational stores such as Starbucks, McDonald`s and Nike operate nearby the Seoul COEX, with the coffee shop chain having three branches at COEX Mall alone. The underground shopping mall is beneath the conference room where the summit is held.

Starbucks also has 10 branches within 600 meters of Samseong subway station, the closest station to the summit venue, and 49 in the surrounding Gangnam district.

Among its 50 outlets in Seoul, McDonald`s has one large branch at COEX Mall and eight in the Gangnam district.

“Gangnam Ward Office asked us whether we will open during the summit, saying it needs to step up surveillance,” a Starbucks source said. “Though we haven`t decided whether to open or not, we`ll cooperate with the government to protect our customers and stores.”

McDonald`s Korea said, “We`ll decide whether to close our stores later. We`re discussing this issue with relevant authorities, including Gangnam Ward Office.”

Burger King Korea will decide on operations over the summit period depending on the operational plan of COEX Mall. The government had reviewed suspending retail operations near the conference venue to protect against terrorist attacks, but left the decision to individual stores and asked them to inform the government of what they decide.

At the June G20 summit in Toronto, “Black Bloc,” a group of violent protesters wearing black clothes and masks, vandalized global retail shops such as Starbucks, McDonald`s, Nike and Burger King like breaking store windows.

Source: http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=020000&biid=2010092872228