Activists scuffle over anti-North Korean leaflets
By SHINWOO KANG,Associated Press Writer AP - 26 minutes ago
IMJINGAK, South Korea - Defectors from North Korea scuffled Tuesday with protesters trying to stop their campaign to send anti-North Korean leaflets condemning leader Kim Jong Il near the heavily militarized border.
About 20 left-wing protesters confronted a group of defectors and activists seeking to send some 100,000 anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border in huge balloons. The two groups of activists spit, hit and kicked each other.
Some 100 riot police were deployed near the area to break up the clash. A man from those opposed to the propaganda campaign sustained a minor head injury, a police official said. He asked not be named as he was not authorized to speak to media.
Those opposed to the propaganda campaign said that sending the leaflets into the North would hurt inter-Korean relations, and they condemned the South Korean government for not cracking down on the campaign.
The scuffle showed the deepening ideological division in South Korea over how to deal with North Korea amid tensions on the divided peninsula. North Korea has ratcheted up accusations against South Korea in recent weeks over what it calls Seoul's refusal to clamp down on "confrontational" activities, including activists' distribution of anti-North Korean leaflets.
Despite the violence, the anti-Pyongyang activists managed to send one balloon across the border filled with about 30,000 leaflets; some 70,000 other flyers ended up scattered along a bridge and other areas.
"We will send the leaflets every day if the weather permits," activist Choi Sung-yong said after launching the balloon.
Relations between the two Koreas have deteriorated since South Korea's conservative President Lee Myung-bak took office in February with a pledge to take a firmer position on the North than his liberal predecessors, with Pyongyang citing the leafletting as one sign of Lee's hard-line stance.
The two Koreas agreed in 2004 to end decades of propaganda warfare. South Korea says it cannot ban the activists from sending the flyers because of freedom of speech but the government has asked the activists to stop the practice.
The 40-foot-tall propaganda-carrying balloons _ fueled by hydrogen and shaped like missiles _ are the most direct way to reach people living in one of the world's most isolated nations.
Recommend this article
Average (0 votes)
Sign in to recommend this article »
Most Recommended Stories »
Related Articles: Asia Pacific
Australian jockey Munce 'shocked' by ban - reportAFP - 9 minutes ago
Thai court dissolves ruling party, bans PMAFP - 13 minutes ago
Activists scuffle over anti-North Korean leafletsAP - 26 minutes ago
RPT-Australian gets 10 mths jail in Singapore over drugsReuters - 32 minutes ago
Thailand postpones ASEAN summit over crisisAP - 38 minutes ago
Most Popular – Asia Pacific
Wall Street plunges as recession becomes reality
World AIDS Day highlights big challenges 20 years on
Saudi king says 75 dollar oil price 'fair'
Love handles increase death risk: study
World's oldest person dies at 115 years
View Complete List »