Mass Protest at Hoiryeong Nammoon Markets, Provisional Settlement

[imText1]On the 7th, a “mass riot by tradesmen at Hoiryeong Nammun Markets” began when tradesmen were forced to vacate market premises having paid payments for reconstruction expenses to market authorities. The situation was ended after market authorities made a negotiation to allow tradesmen to construct temporary street stalls.

In October, Nammun Market Authorities collected 3,000 won from tradesmen on the grounds that the market street stalls and roof would be newly decorated. However, once a decision was made to “unite all Jangmadang in Hoiryeong as a New Hoiryeong markets (at the former Hoiryeong Boys Junior High School)’ authorities did not return the payments to the tradesmen yet forced them to vacate the premises, in which tradesmen responded with a mass riot.

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An inside source in North Korea said in a phone conversation on the 26th “Last 22nd, the tradesmen who conspired a mass riot, also went to the security office protesting that a resolution be made” and “fearing that the situation may worsen, the security office and market authorities made a decision to allow temporary street stalls to be constructed.”

Furthermore, the source said “It was clear that the security office did not want the situation to worsen and was perplexed by the large number of people participating in the riot and the potential for a mass movement” and “No one seems to have been arrested or kept in custody as a result of this situation.”

A defector who has entered Korea said “There are many cases where market tradesmen go to the office after verbal conflict with authorities” and “It was difficult to see hundreds of people in a mass protest marching and shouting a slogan.”

There have been occasions where North Korean citizens and authorities have been in conflict over living issues, though enlarged mass riot incidences like at Nammun markets are exceptional cases. The defector added that these acts demonstrate attitudes very different to the past where people would solely depend on the distribution system by authorities.

Recently, the DailyNK has been reporting numerous video footages of conflicts in North Korea where security or military officers grab citizens by the collar and many others try to stop the fight. This indicates the big failure of the North Korean regime and military compared to the times of the food crisis and shows that the dependence of citizens to solve the issue of eating and living on their own has grown.

The inside source said “There is rising dispute by tradesmen and citizens alike as the newly developed Hoiryeong markets is relatively far from the district of Nam Moon” and “It will be interesting to see how authorities will react when incidences like these reoccur.”

At present, attempts to vacate Nammun markets has ended for now and the 50 or so tradesmen who had possessed sites at the markets are going about their lives trading in stalls in the alleyways of Nammun district.

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