Police were called to the site of the proposed naval base at Ganjeong Port in Seogwipo on Jan. 18, to remove protestors who had occupied the area. The protestors were arrested and questioned on charges of staging a sitin and setting up tents illegally. A police spokesman said a group of 40 villagers opposed to the location of the base on Jeju Island had occupied an excavator to stop construction workers from doing their jobs. The Korean Navy requested police assistance so it could continue to prepare the area for a groundbreaking ceremony, scheduled to take place on Feb. 5. About 400 police officers were mobilized in the early hours of the morning to remove the protesting villagers. Just hours later, police removed 10 more villagers, including Ko Yu Gi, a leader of a civil alliance that opposes the base, and charged them with interfering with official work.The alliance criticized the police and the Korean Navy over the incident, stating that it was an abuse of power. An official involved with the construction said the villagers began their sit-in on Jan. 4 and refused to leave when requested by the Navy to do so. Once completed, the base is expected to accommodate more than 20 naval vessels, and to have housing and facilities for 7,500 sailors and their families.
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