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Last Thursday's Kyunghyang Shinmun had the following article:

 

Noodle Restaurant 'Duriban' Reopens

 

Agreement between tenant couple and construction

company ends 531-day struggle


"It's been hard for a long time but I'm glad it's been resolved. I think this day has come because of the help we've had from so many people."


Ahn Jong-nyeo, 53, owner of kalguksu (noodle) restaurant Duriban and symbol of resistance to indiscriminate urban development in Seoul's Hongdae(Hongik University) area, looked as if she was about to cry. Today, however, hers were tears not of anger but of deep emotion.


On June 8, at Mapo-gu Office, 531 days after the beginning of Duriban's struggle, a committee representing Duriban and construction contractor Namjeon DNC signed an "agreement on the resolution of the Duriban demolition problem."


At a gathering attended by officials fro Mapo-gu Office and Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, representatives of both sides stamped their seals onto the agreement, which stipulated that Duriban would be enabled to resume business in a location similar to its existing area. Duriban will thus now be able to reopen in the Hongdae area.


Duriban underwent forced demolition on Christmas Eve of 2009. In 2005, the contractor offered Ahn, who had been doing business there, 3 million won in compensation for relocation. This sum was woefully inadequate even for staying alive, let alone setting up a business anywhere else.


Duriban's site was not entitled to protection under the relevant law on urban and residential environment because it was not a public redevelopment zone but managed by a civilian operator. The next day, Ahn and her husband Yoo Che-lim, 51, who had been driven out onto the street, entered Duriban and began occupying it.


After that, people supporting Duriban began gathering one by one at the site of the occupation. It played host to all kinds of concerts and documentary screenings, as well as candlelit services.


Performances by artists resisting "rampant development" drew in local residents, while politicians also began to take interest. The electricity was cut off, but the number of people willing to protect Duriban increased. Duriban was christened "Little Yongsan."


The resolution of this incident has been accompanied by predictions that Duriban will become a milestone in the quest to secure rights for tenants in commercial properties.


"Until now, the custom has been to ignore the residency rights of business tenants and go ahead with forcible demolition," says Kim Nam-geun, a lawyer who represents evictees in demolition cases. "This will remain as a precedent that shows that development must take place in a way that guarantees residential and survival rights within communities."


"It has been impossible for individual tenants to resist huge construction companies and assert their rights," said Lee Ju-won, director of the group Nanumgwa Mirae ("Sharing and Future").


"In the future too, tenants will have to join forces with local residents and society. The scope of compensation will have to be increased to make business tenants, who are unable to receive proper compensation in case of redevelopment, legally eligible to be compensated."


http://english.khan.co.kr/khan_art_view.html?code=710100&artid=201106091617087&medid=enkh



 

 

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