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Police vow to crack down on violent protests near G-20 summit venue

South Korean police will go on high alert ahead of the upcoming G-20 summit in Seoul to sternly deal with violent protests, including one planned near the summit venue by a group of hard-line special forces veterans who are calling for reforms of their veterans’ merits system, the nation’s police chief said Monday.

According to Cho Hyun-oh, chief of the National Police Agency, some 100 veterans of Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) are preparing radical demonstrations by mobilizing various vehicles, exploding oil tank trucks and committing seppuku near the COEX in southern Seoul, where the G-20 leaders and participants will gather during the Nov. 11-12 meeting.

Cho said his agency has been tipped off about the protest plot proposed by UDT members in their 30s and 40s, who plan to raise their voice to reform the veterans’ merits system during the large-scale international meeting.

Under a special law on G-20 security that went into effect this month, all rallies and demonstrations within a two-kilometer radius of the summit venue are banned from Nov. 8-12.

“We won’t tolerate any violent protests during the period of the G-20 summit. If they pursue their own interests using illegal and violent means, we will respond sternly to such a move,” Cho said in a media briefing.

The president of the UDT veterans’ association said they will stage a demonstration after failing to negotiate with the government in the last two years to expand benefits for those who served for special military duties.

“We have complaints about the lack of merits…,” Shin Hyun-pyo, the president of the UDT veterans’ association, said. “We have attempted dialogue over the last two years, but it didn’t work. So we decided to (demonstrate).”

As part of concerted national efforts, the Justice Ministry said it will begin the operation of emergency situation rooms around the clock next month and increase immigration checkpoints at Incheon International Airport and Seoul’s Gimpo Airport from Nov. 6 to accommodate growing passenger traffic during the event.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office also held a meeting early Monday with 45 senior prosecutors from local prosecutors’ offices nationwide to prepare measures for the illegal protests and terrorism plots, officials said.

Source: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2010/10/25/67/0302000000AEN20101025005900315F.HTML