Construction for a naval base on Jeju Island began Wednesday morning as crews blasted rock beds to clear the coastline.
The business consortium in charge of the naval base project says rocks were blasted around 11:20 a.m. in the Gureombi area in Jeju's Gangjeong Village where groundwork is under way for the base. Officials say more rocks will be blown up in the afternoon.
Some 200 local residents and activists began clashing with a one thousand-strong police force near the site following news of the explosions. About ten people were taken into custody earlier that morning during a physical scuffle with the police.
Before the rock clearing, Jeju Governor Woo Keun-min issued an urgent plea and asked the government to temporarily halt construction, citing unforeseen accidents that can result from the explosion of rock beds.