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ROK to probe military plan to quell Park protests

AP file photo

Protesters hold up candles during a rally calling for South Korean President Park Geun-hye to step down in Seoul on Nov. 19, 2016.

The Associated Press SEOUL (AP) — South Korea’s president has ordered an investigation into a revelation that the military drew up a plan to mobilize troops if protests last year worsened over the fate of his impeached predecessor, officials said Tuesday.

Military intervention in civilian affairs is an extremely sensitive issue in South Korea, which was ruled by army-backed dictatorships for decades before achieving democracy in the late 1980s. During the harsh rules, authorities occasionally proclaimed martial law and other decrees that allowed them to station combat soldiers, tanks and armored vehicles on streets or at public places like schools to prevent anti-government demonstrations.

The latest controversy over military intervention flared last week when a ruling party lawmaker disclosed a document showing the military planned to use troops to maintain order if rallies either opposing or supporting conservative then-President Park Geun-hye grew violent after a Constitutional Court ruling on her impeachment over a corruption scandal.

The Defense Ministry later confirmed the existence of the document, which was written during the final weeks of Park’s presidency by its intelligence arm, called the Defense Security Command.

Current President Moon Jae In, during a visit to India on Monday night, ordered his defense minister to establish a special team to investigate the document, Moon’s spokesman Kim Eui Kyum told reporters in Seoul on Tuesday.

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