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Police surround protesters blocking Jeju's naval base construction
JEJU ISLAND, South Korea, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- Police on Friday mobilized riot troops to surround a group of sit-in protesters who have been blocking the construction of a naval base on this southernmost island for months, officials and residents said.

   The Seogwipo Police Station began the surprise raid at 5:10 a.m. at the mouth of Gangjeong Village, where around 80 to 100 angry residents and activists have been staging a sit-in rally against the government's move to build a new naval base, they said.

   It is not immediately known whether the riot troops intend to disperse the protesters.

   South Korea's military started construction of the naval base near the village on the resort island's southern coast facing the South China Sea in January, saying the facility is necessary to strengthen national security by increasing military mobility in the southern maritime territory.

   But the construction was suspended in June, when a group of village residents and civic activists occupied the site, claiming that it will eventually be used to accommodate U.S. troops and thus ignite a conflict with China.

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