I interviewed Doraji Baek, the daughter of Baek Nam-ki, a 69-year old farmer who was documented being knocked to the ground by police water cannons at a November 14 rally in Seoul. He remains unconscious and on a respirator. This incident raised serious questions about the use of force on protesters. The interview was published in both English and in Korean (한국어) at the Huffington Post World Post site and Huffington Post Korea.
A brief excerpt below:
More than a month after 69-year-old Korean farmer Nam-ki Baek was knocked to the ground by high-powered police water cannons at a Nov. 14 rally in Seoul, he remains unconscious and hospitalized.
Baek had joined tens of thousands of protesters in the largest street rally in years to protest the government’s policies and demand the resignation of President Park Geun-hye. On that day, the riot police shot water mixed with pepper spray onto those gathered on the streets.
In the videos documenting what happened to Baek, one can see the water cannons spraying him directly in the head, knocking him down and sliding his body some distance on the ground. What has raised the ire of many, however, is that the police continued to hit the unconscious Baek with their water hoses, as well as the people who came to his aid.
A key quote from the interview:
“I was so angry when the president compared the protesters to the so-called Islamic State. It was unbelievable and beyond absurd to hear this. The chief of police also talked about those at the rally as “expert protesters.”
No one wants to be an “expert protester.” Everyone just wants to live his or her own life. And so does my father. He had something to say on that day as a farmer, demanding that the president keep her promise. He is an old man, so just two policemen could have easily arrested him.”