PSPD in English Sewol Ferry Tragedy 2014-05-15   2364

[Statement] Condemning Police for Criminalizing “Yellow Ribbon”

Condemning Police for Criminalizing “Yellow Ribbon” 


(15 May 2014, Seoul) Last weekend, police aroused criticism because they randomly stopped and questioned visitors entering Kyeongbok Palace, for they were wearing yellow ribbons. Many people voluntarily wear the yellow ribbons to express their condolences for the victims and missing people from the Sewol ferry disaster. At the time, the policeman didn’t even follow the basic rules that he should disclose his name and where he is attached to and explain the purpose and reason of the inspection. This is an evident misfeasance and excessive exercise of governmental authority, and thus must be stopped immediately.  


Police are supposed to stop only those who committed crime or appear suspicious for a random questioning and personal belongings inspection. Therefore, the policeman’s random questioning to the visitors at Kyeongbok Palace indicates that police is regarding citizens with yellow ribbons as the people “who committed crime or appear suspicious” and consequently viewing the nation’s condolence and calls for corresponding responsibility of the government as inflammatory. It is not a little shocking. 


The problem is that this case was not a one-time mistake. On May 9th, Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency gave instructions to keep the citizens wearing yellow ribbons from joining the protest in front of the Blue House led by the victim families of Sewol ferry disaster. Besides, when the victim families were demanding a face-to-face interview with the President, the presidential spokesperson even emphasized that only “actual victim families” could have the interview. Would these be all? No. Government officials frequently attempt to denounce the condolence for the Sewol ferry disaster and critical opinions against the government and make them appear seditious.   


Police and government have disdained democracy and fundamental moral principles, preoccupied with securing power. This kind of attitude of authorities is of course hurting the victim families. Police must work for the nation not the government. They should apologize for the random questioning and promise to prevent recurrence of the same mistake.  


For more information or media inquiry, please contact People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (Ms. Gayoon Baek,, +82 (0)2 723 5051).

Statement in Korean >> ‘노란 리본’ 불온-범죄시 하는 경찰 당국 규탄한다

(Translated by Seon-mi Jin, Volunteer)

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