We continue with our agenda after going to Yongsan where the activists of the city came together in an emotional event, in protest at the death of 5 people in an incident that occurred when the police tried to evict them from their homes. The brutality of property speculation seems to be behind the events.
The next event was something “light”. Meditation and dancing in the City Hall Park.
Someone warned us. Around 100 meters away, something was happening. The police surrounded 3 people forming a tight circle around them, through which you could neither enter nor leave. What was happening? Who are they? Where is the Korean translator? It’s difficult to move in a city you don’t know, with a strange language and besides that having been invited by other organisations.
English, Spanish, Korean, running around and at the end we found out. They were family members of the Yongsan victims who came to the organised activity. The police were retaining them arguing that “a cell phone had been stolen”. It seems to be a usual technique, trying to stop them mixing with other people to avoid the conflict extending. Someone whispered that it was not small the number of times that these “retentions” ended up being in the police station.
Some continued in the park with dance and meditation. The local organiser didn’t want us to get involved to avoid conflicts with the administration. To us it didn’t seem good to leave them there. What kind of nonviolence is that when you can meditate and dance while our people are being taken away? We decided to not leave.
Neither Micky, nor Rafa, nor Marco nor Tony are here and I feel responsible for the group. I don’t want anyone to be arrested or disturb the local organisers, but nor am I willing to just go, I’m not marching around the world to watch from the other side when those around me are violated. The “grandmothers” came to give me a lesson. Montse who’s over 70, puts on the face of a saint and jumps through the police cordon to hug those detained, behind her is Liliana who’s over 60 with a disgusted face and a look that leaves me in no doubt that she’s not going away. She too jumps the police cordon.
I encourage the few of us who are there to encircle the police hand in hand, I speak loudly in Spanish so that they understand that we’re foreigners, maybe this can avoid more conflict. With the banner extended we just about manage to surround the cordon. One of the Zen monks speaks on the side with someone who seems to be in charge.
The police are very young but well trained. They don’t speak. The don’t move and remain undaunted by any demand. The bus comes with reinforcements, I think that if they decide to “charge” they will outnumber us three to one. I can no longer think of any other strategy and these “beasts” of dance, continue jumping around two metres away without realising what’s happening. I have no idea how this will end.
Everything happens in a second. With a signal the cordon dissolves and the police move towards their buses among the confusion and shouts of the demonstrators. Someone must have given the order to withdraw… ufff it’s a good job they’re obedient.
Hugs, crying, thanks. Those detained assure us that it was thanks to our presence that they weren’t beaten up, like on other occasions. We are all on edge and emotional.
Everything turned out well. I don’t know how, but it seems that this magic that is accompanying the March has ended up influencing those around us.