Troops at Camp Humphreys must stay on post Sunday
Editor’s Note: A correction to this story has been issued since its original publication.
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Camp Humphreys’ commander has ordered troops to stay on post Sunday because of a planned protest rally near the installation.
A South Korean group opposing Camp Humphreys’ scheduled expansion and the U.S. military’s presence on the peninsula is to hold a rally in Daechu-ri, rice-farming land just outside the camp’s perimeter fence. It also plans a candlelight vigil Sunday night at Pyeongtaek train station.
The demonstration by the Pan-Korean National Task Force Against Expansion of U.S. Bases in Pyeongtaek is set for 1-8 p.m. at Daechu-ri Elementary School outside Camp Humphreys’ northwest sector, post officials said.
Based on information from the Korean National Police, “we are expecting a civil gathering of up to 5,000 people,” said Susan Barkley, spokeswoman for the Army’s Area III Support Activity at Camp Humphreys.
Camp officials have put several areas near the post off-limits to servicemembers, as follows:
The Anjung-ri section of Pyeongtaek, including the bar and entertainment district immediately outside the installation, from noon Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.
The Pyeongtaek train station and adjacent shopping district, Pyeongtaek City Hall and “adjacent downtown areas,” from 8 a.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday.
From 8 a.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday, routes and towns leading to or from these villages in the Camp Humphreys area are off-limits (except for personnel traveling to and from home): Daechu-ri, Bongjong-ri, Wonjong-ri, Nae-ri, Dodu-ri, Hamjeong 1-ri, Hamjeong 2-ri, and Duejeong-ri.
Walking, hiking, running or biking in the area west of Camp Humphreys to the Anjun River is prohibited from 8 a.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday.
Vehicle and pedestrian traffic will be restricted along the installation’s northern perimeter road from 8 a.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday, from the 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion headquarters to the Ministry of National Defense compound main gate in the installation’s Zoeckler Station area.
Various on-post recreational facilities were to keep extended hours Sunday so soldiers “have alternatives,” Barkley said. Those included the post Community Activities Center and its swimming pool, the gym, bowling center, library, and the Alaska Mining Company restaurant, she said.
KNP officials have been working closely with Pyeongtaek police to keep Sunday’s demonstration peaceful and minimize contact with demonstrators, a police official told Stars and Stripes.
Pyeongtaek police on Friday said KNP riot police are to be staged on Camp Humphreys and not immediately outside the installation, a departure from past practice. Local police will patrol the area nearest the demonstrators.
If demonstrators break the police line or menace the installation, Pyeongtaek police officers are to move in to make arrests, they said.
In addition, the KNP has invited National Human Rights Commission of Korea members to observe the demonstration scene.
The KNP has drawn fire for what critics contend was use of excessive force against South Korean protesters. In November, two farmers demonstrating against the South Korean government died after clashes with riot police. Scores of other protesters, as well as KNP riot police, were injured.
Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.