Protests in North Korea?

Submitted by Matthew on 9 March, 2011 - 9:39

According to Asian news agencies, small scale demonstrations have sprung up in parts of North Korea.

Although the details of these protests are not clear and there is little suggestion that they amount to a determination to fight for immediate regime change, they are potentially highly signficant.

The lack of food, electricity and basic utilities are the most likely reason for the demonstrations. Challenging the regime directly is too dangerous, and most North Koreans simply don’t have enough knowledge on the possible “alternatives”.

It is also unlikely that these protests have been directly influenced by the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. The state controlled media allows no news from the outside world. There simply isn’t enough flow of information for citizens to draw influence from such events.

Some sources suggest the apparent succession of power from Kim Jong-il to his youngest son Kim Jong-un is unnerving the severely oppressed and hungry population. One internet source claims that North Koreans regard Kim Jong-un as “bloodthirsty and mad”.

Further, “almost everyone thinks he was behind the military attacks against ROKS Cheonan and an island under South Korean control, which led to restrictions on humanitarian aid from the South. This has further worsened standards of living in the North. North Koreans are ready to do just about anything to stop the succession.”

South Korean activists are reported to be planning the sending of videos of the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia to North Korean citizens.

Although an unsuccessful “propaganda war” has existed between the two Koreas for several decades, providing video evidence of popular uprisings to discontented North Koreans may assist in spreading the notion of democracy.

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