South Korea: direct intervention delays dam construction
Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, visited South Korea in March 2010, and held a joint press conference with Friends of the Earth South Korea.
In July 2010, in an attempt to suspend construction, five Friends of the Earth South Korea activists accessed the dam building sites in the middle of the night: three of them climbed the 20m high pillar of the Han River lock gate and two of them took over the high-rise tower crane operation room at the Nakdong River. Friends of the Earth South Korea demanded that construction be suspended – at the very least during the rainy season – and that the government should accept their proposal to set up a reviewing committee in the National Assembly. The two activists had to retreat from the crane after 19 days because of an approaching typhoon, but the action by the rest on the pillar lasted for 41 days. The prosecution tried to detain the sit-in activists but they were eventually examined by police without being detained; KFEM will still be charged with trespass however.
KFEM is still struggling to stop the project and to find ways to restore the damaged rivers.
“I was very upset when I happened to see the riverbed dug up. I think the involvement of Friends of the Earth in this struggle was good for people who were too confused by the government’s advertisement to see the truth.”
FoE South Korea/KFEM