Following the denial of entry of three senior Greenpeace staff to South Korea last week for reasons of protecting “national interest”, democracy debates are cropping up on the internet in line with the current election fever that is gripping the country.
The Greenpeace staff were due to meet both political and non-profit leaders to discuss nuclear issues following the Nuclear Security Summit two weeks ago.
Greenpeace HQ on on entry denial: “Unimaginable in democratic country”
Greenpeace members have been denied entry into South Korea at Incheon International Airport. According to Greepeace, Mario Damato, East Asia Director of Greenpeace and two officials were denied and deported by the Immigration Authority at the Incheon International Airport upon arrival. Only Kumi Naidoo, the International Executive Director of Greenpeace, was allowed entry and able to have discussion with Park Wonsoon, the Mayor of Seoul.
On Twitter (@kuminaidoo) Kumi Naidoo said “Three colleagues and I have been stopped by immigration at Incheon airport in South Korea… Related to Greenpeace’s #nuclear stance I assume”, adding “I’m through, but my colleagues are getting deported without reason. Shocking response to peaceful activism first world democracy”. Later Naidoo said “Korea can’t pretend it’s a player in international climate talks and env. protection while silencing #nuclear criticism”, voicing his criticism against the South Korean government.
The International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo (second from the left) and his colleagues at the Immigration Checkpoint (Photo by Greenpeace Press release)
Three colleagues of Kumi Naidoo was denied entry without any reason and were deported tonight. They wished to convey the message of transitioning to sustainable energy from nuclear power to the South Korean government. This is unimaginable in democratic country. Greenpeace Headquarter (@Greenpeace) and Greenpeace Seoul Office (@greenpeacekorea) also posted on Twitter “The government wanted to silence the voices of anti-nuclear policy”, “This is unimaginable in democratic country.”
When the news broke that they denied entry on the ground that they were classified as “Those harmful to national interest”, Yu Simin, the leader of the Unified Progressive Party (@u_simin) criticised the government decision on Twitter: “Entry denied to the Greenpeace officials, I was supposed to meet them tomorrow… Perhaps they were deported because they were to visit Kangjung? This administration loves national prestige but they treated Greenpeace very poorly!”
Comments from Daum:
Paint a nuclear powerplant green and destroy four rivers by turning them into shoddy canals, we call it the Lee Myungbak Green Growth. 2MB is considered a swindler administration par excellence.
So ashamed~ is this the national prestige… We have been downgraded to the African military dictatorship level… Happy now, MB and Gunae [Park Gun-hye]?
Greenpeace is now the organisation harmful to the national interests?? I had to pledge monthly donation out of shame, and I am broke!!!
The Republic of Korea has been under dictatorship since 2008 [start of Lee Myung-bak presidency].
There is no answer! The only way to survive is impeachment!
Hoel… I thought they were talking about North Korea…
Don’t come here. As soon as Greenpeace sets foot here they will be monitored, put under surveillance and investigated by the National Security Agency. Oh wait, not NSA but by the Prime Minister Office. Sorry nowadays I confuse the North Korean NSA with the South Korean PM’s Office…
Impeach [the president] now and let’s go back to democracy.
They are hell-bent on international embarrassment…We are really sorry… the Rat [Lee Myung-bak]… is out of his mind…
South Korea… is not a democracy…It’s an MB state through and through…Who is behind on the civilian surveillance [referring to a recent case of wire-tapping]? We all know it but no one can do anything about it…We are so far behind… Our national politics is 4th, 5th grade at best… until we rid of the Rat…
This is the cold reality of South Korea, 2012. Are they terrorists? Are they harming the national interests?? What have they got to be so afraid of? That they have to denied entry to Greenpeace…?’
Update: Kumi Naidoo published an article in the Huffington Post following the deportation.