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Drivers licenses annulled for leading illegal road blockade
DECEMBER 24, 2013 00:11  
Police have imposed stern punishment on protesters who illegally occupied a road and masterminded illegal action.

According to Seoul뭩 Yongsan Police Station on Monday, police informed deprivation of drivers licenses to three people, including a leader of a farmers group under the National Federation of Farmers` Associations, who occupied six lanes from the southern end to the northern end of Hannam Bridge in Seoul for 30 minutes on September 3. According to the Road Traffic Act, a person who interrupts traffic by using an automobile can be deprived of his or her driver뭩 license.

At around 3 p.m. on September 3, more than 1,300 members of the South Jeolla and North Jeolla provincial branches under the umbrella farmers organization were traveling to Seoul by 48 chartered tourist bus to participate in a national farmers convention that was scheduled at Seoul Station Plaza at 4 p.m. on the day.

Park, 57, chair of the Gwangju and South Jeolla chapter of the farmers organization, who was escorting a parade of chartered bus in a van at the forefront, stopped his vehicle at fifth and sixth lanes on Hannam Bridge all of sudden. Then, 48 bus that were following the van also stopped to make queues, rather than passing the van. Fifteen chartered busses that were following the van blocked all six lanes in one direction of the road on Hannam Bridge by forming three layers. Leaders of farmers organizations including Park got off the bus, and urged members of the farmers groups in the bus to stage a surprise protest rally. According to police investigation, the surprise protest rally was an event conducted based on a plot Park, chair of the South Jeolla chapter, and Ha, 59, chair of the North Jeolla chapter of the organization, made in advance at Jukjeon Rest Area on Gyeongbu Express Way.

More than 400 of some 1,000 members who got off the bus walked along Hannam Bridge that they occupied, chanting slogans 밡o to the Korea-China Free Trade Agreement, and 밒mplement a state purchase system for basic farming produces. Other members continued the rally by holding up flags of the farmers organization and banners reading, 밯rite off farmers debts, 밨evoke the hanwoo (Korean cow) registration system, and 밨aise state purchase price of rice.

After concluding the 30-minute surprise rally there, members of the organization boarded their bus again, and took part in the national farmers convention held at Seoul Station Plaza. Due to their protest rallies, however, roads linking Shinsa-dong and Seocho-dong neighborhoods in south of the Han River with Hannam Bridge saw severe traffic jams, and traffic only normalized more than two hours later.

Police booked without detention 24 leaders and members of the farmers groups, who caused massive damage to Seoul citizens including blockade of traffic for more than 30 minutes by occupying the road and holding an unreported illegal assembly, on the charges of general traffic disruption and violation of the act on public assembly and demonstration, and submitted the case to prosecutors on Monday. Police decided to deprive of drivers licenses from Jeong, 41, chief of the policy committee at the South Jeolla chapter of the organization who was the first to block the road with a Starex minivan, and Park who spearheaded the illegal strike.

A police source said, 밯e will sternly deal with protestors who illegally occupy roads to railroad their demand and stage demonstration that disrupts traffic flow to cause inconvenience among citizens.

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