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Hundreds of South Koreans Clash With Anti-Pyonyang Activists Over Leaflet Campaign

RIA Novosti

21:58 25/10/2014

MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti) – Hundreds of residents of the South Korean town of Paju, located on the border with the North, have clashed with anti-Pyonyang activists, who intended to send tens of thousands of leaflets across the border, AFP reports.

The locals say the leaflet campaign puts their lives in danger since the North considers it a declaration of war and has vowed to retaliate if it continues.

Residents threw eggs at the conservative activists and seized a truck with balloons and leaflets. They also blocked roads leading to the launch site with trucks. "Stop anti-North leaflet launch jeopardising our lives!" one poster on a tractor said. "We will become the victims of shelling if leaflets are scattered," read another one pinned to a tree.

Local residents also prevented the activists from sending balloons from the Odusan Unification Observatory, located north of Paju.

Although the Saturday leaflet campaign had a mixed start, several hours later the activists launched 20,000 leaflets across the border from another location, Yonhap news agency reports.

Over 1,000 police officers were deployed to the area to prevent clashes. However, South Korean government maintains it has no authority to stop what is a democratic exercise of freedom of expression. Conservative activists from South Korea, many of them North Korean defectors, persistently launch leaflets criticizing the North's leadership and system across the border. Earlier this month, such a launch led to an exchange of fire much to the consternation of local residents.

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