USFK announces security measures, restrictions ahead of G-20
Stars and Stripes November 6, 2010
SEOUL — U.S. Forces Korea personnel are banned from going within a 600-meter radius of the COEX mall and convention center complex Wednesday through Friday, one of several security measures affecting the military community during the upcoming G-20 summit, U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan officials said Friday.
The economic summit will be attended by 32 heads of state and more than 10,000 participants. Protests at previous G-20 meetings have become violent, and delays are expected on all forms of transportation beginning Monday due to heightened security.
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for Americans living in or traveling in South Korea because of the expected protests. That alert expires on Nov. 13.
Only USFK personnel who live within the COEX off-limits area or are traveling there on official business are allowed within the 600-meter radius, officials said. Road conditions within Seoul will be red Wednesday through Friday, meaning military vehicles can be driven only for emergency or essential business without the permission of a commander.
Military uniforms cannot be worn outside the installation between Monday and Friday with the exception of travel to and from duty, according to the garrison.
Yongsan spokesman Dan Thompson said large demonstrations are expected at designated protest locations at Olympic Park, Seoul Station and at the COEX Mall.
“There’s always the possibility that they could do spontaneous protests throughout the city,” Thompson said, noting that many protests are expected to draw 5,000 or more participants. He said military personnel should stay home during the summit in order avoid the large and possibly violent demonstrations expected during the week.
Those protests include:
* On Sunday, 20,000 participants are expected to gather at Seoul City Hall Plaza at 3 p.m., march to Cheonggye Stream and hold a candlelight vigil there at 9 p.m.
* On Wednesday, between 5,000 and 15,000 people are expected to hold a candlelight vigil at Bosingak, near the U.S. Embassy and the Insadong area, at 7 p.m.
* Ten thousand people are scheduled to attend another protest on Thursday at the War Memorial Museum, adjacent to Yongsan, Thompson said. The starting time for that protest was not yet available.
South Korea riot police are expected to patrol the circumference of the garrison that day, and may be present at other times throughout the week, he said.
Thompson said anyone who sees people videotaping areas around military installations or asking questions about them should call Yongsan’s counterintelligence and force protection unit at 0505-723-3299.
“No matter how small they think it is or if they just have a hunch that something doesn’t look right, they need to call that number without hesitation,” he said.
Military community members should have emergency numbers stored in their cell phones in case they are caught in a protest outside Yongsan, Thompson said, including those for interpretation services (1588-5644) and the Medical Emergency Patient Information Center (02-1399 from a mobile phone, or 1339 from a land line).
The garrison’s public affairs office will post updated information about security conditions on its Facebook page throughout the week. Thompson said the garrison will hold a community meeting at 10:30 a.m. Monday to answer questions about how the G-20 will impact the base at the South Post Multipurpose Training Facility, Building 4218. firstname.lastname@example.org