Wednesday, 10 November 2010

From Our Man in Seoul

Security is tight but low-key around the COEX convention centre in Seoul, South Korea, where the G20 conference is being held Thursday and Friday, 11-12 November. Bingu wa Mutharika was the first world leader to arrive at the summit; the Malawian president was invited as Chairman of the African Union.

Despite fears of North Korean mischief, tours to the DMZ continued as normal this week. In fact, the tour companies seemed especially busy with the sudden influx of foreign tourists. From the Dora Observatory, the border appeared quiet on Tuesday.

Homegrown dissent is a likelier hazard. Over 50,000 security officers are on duty around the city. A no-protest zone has been established in a 2-kilometre radius around COEX, though on Wednesday night this intrepid fellow slipped through.

Anti-globalisation groups, labour unions and civic groups held protests on Wednesday with further rallies planned for Seoul Station area on Thursday. Warning that explosive devices could be delivered by helium balloon or model aeroplane, police are monitoring the sale of helium and jamming the radio frequencies reserved for model aeroplane transmitters.

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