First, there were the Chinese throwing water bottles, sticks and stones at activists from a North Korean refugee rights group at Olympic Park. One reporter working for a major Korean paper was injured when he was hit in the head with a stone.
Then there were the five or six American and Canadian pro-Tibet protesters that got assaulted with water bottles and the like in front of the Deoksugung Palace.
Then there was the riot in front of the Plaza Hotel when pro-Tibet and pro-Taiwan protesters got attacked by Chinese demonstrators.
This led many resident Tibetans — who’d come out to protest China’s suppression of Tibetan protests in China — and Koreans who’d come out to watch the Olympic torch to run for cover.
One Korean who watched it all said, “I don’t understand how [the Chinese] could use group violence in someone else’s country just because there are people who oppose the holding of the Olympics in their country.”
The police response to the Chinese ruffians was also called into question. One Korean said police could have predicted what would happen after seeing how ethnic Chinese demonstrators behaved in Japan and elsewhere, but that the Korean government — fearing diplomatic problems with China — failed to nip the problem in the bud early.
Police did, in fact, deploy only 9,300 personnel along the route, much less than the 14,000 cops they deployed during last month’s protests against rising university tuitions. A police official said — sit down for this — that they thought the Chinese embassy would be able to control the Chinese demonstrators (emphasis mine), but it didn’t turn out that way. The official added that legal action would be taken against the Chinese they arrested following investigations.
UPDATE: Sorry, I just can’t get over that police official. “We thought the Chinese embassy would be able to control the Chinese demonstrators.” Quick, somebody call Internal Affairs and check the evidence room — I’m willing to bet some of the gear seized from the English teachers this weekend is missing.
UPDATE 2: I just watched the videos in the Chosun Ilbo article linked below. Fuck me. I’m going to be very disappointed when mass deportations are not handed out for this. Seriously. Korea has enough brownshirts posing as university students; it doesn’t need China’s, too. Kick ‘em out. Especially the ones caught attacking cops. If you’re a foreigner and you attack cops in broad daylight in the middle of the capital, you should consider yourself lucky if the only thing that happens to you is a deportation. Put them on the next ferry to China and be done with it.