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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — South Korean authorities deployed thousands of police reinforcements to contested farmland near Camp Humphreys on Saturday to bolster security forces already there, according to government officials and news reports.

The move came after activists opposing Camp Humphreys’ planned eventual expansion clashed Friday with security forces and cut a newly installed razor-wire barrier at several points.

Friday’s violence in Daechu-ri village followed Thursday’s massive government raid, in which riot police stormed a school compound that had become a base for activists opposing the expansion. A U.S.-South Korean pact calls for Camp Humphreys to become the peninsula’s main U.S. military installation, tripling in size.

The protesters Thursday and Friday included local residents and college students from around Korea.

From 600 to 800 protesters who fled the Thursday raid have found shelter in local homes, a South Korean government official told Stars and Stripes on Saturday. The village, which borders Camp Humphreys, currently is off-limits to U.S. military personnel.

During Thursday’s operation, soldiers had erected a concertina wire barrier around miles of disputed farmland. After police removed protesters from the school building on Friday, work crews promptly tore down the two-story structure, which had been closed for some years. A security force was left to guard the area inside the wire.

On Friday, groups of protesters cut portions of the wire barrier, battled South Korean soldiers and police guarding the area and, in one instance, tried to enter Camp Humphreys, according to the government official and South Korean news reports.

Camp Humphreys officials “did react very vigorously” to a report that “someone had tried to breach the perimeter,” Camp Humphreys spokeswoman Susan Barkley said Saturday. But officials were “not able to substantiate the report,” she said.

No incidents at the installation were reported Saturday, she said.

Fifteen soldiers were injured Friday, the official said. There was no immediate word on whether protesters were injured.

Following Friday’s violence, authorities bused several thousand additional officers into Daechu-ri during the early morning hours Saturday, the government official said.

Friday’s confrontations involved about 2,500 protesters who’ve come to the area from around Korea, the South Korean newspaper Joong Ang Daily reported Saturday.

The government in 2005 purchased 2,328 acres of farmland near Camp Humphreys for the expansion. Many residents moved out of the area but some have refused to leave.

Government officials have contended that activists who oppose the U.S. military presence in South Korea have organized the local opposition to the Camp Humphreys expansion. They have mounted numerous large-scale demonstrations near the installation since last year.

This spring farmers began planting a new spring rice crop in defiance of a government order. Holdout residents and activists have thwarted several recent government attempts to halt the farming and fence in the area.

Government officials since have designated the disputed area a military zone in which security troops will enforce access restrictions common to military installations.

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