Loud Weeping, Tense Silence in N.Korea

      December 21, 2011 09:55

      Masses of people in Pyongyang paid their respects to dead North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Tuesday, much as they had done the previous day, while a tense regime clamped down on all other activities.

      China's state-run CCTV broadcast the images of thousands of Pyongyang residents paying their respects in Kim Il-sung Square and the Pyongyang Gymnasium. But the streets were almost empty and few people were seen at bus stops where they usually form long lines. Flags hung at half-mast and most restaurants and shops were closed, it said. AP said Pyongyang remained orderly even while apparently grief-stricken.

      North Korean heir Kim Jong-un pays his respects to his father Kim Jong-il, who is lying in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang. /[North] Korean Central TV-Reuters

      The North is deporting foreigners out of Pyongyang, Sinuiju and the Rajin-Sonbong special economic zone, and restricting travel. Missionaries and businessmen of U.S. nationality who were engaged in charity work in the economic zone and Sinuiju were forced to leave. A Chinese man who took a flight from Pyongyang on Tuesday said, "Foreigners weren't allowed to leave their accommodation after Kim Jong-il's death was announced." The North Korean authorities are also stopping foreigners from entering and are issuing no new visas until Dec. 29.

      Controls in the North have been strengthened further. In major cities all gatherings of over four people except to mourn the dead leader's death have been banned, and armed soldiers have been positioned in the streets. The Daily NK quoted a source in Onsong as saying the soldiers warned people not to move or pay the price.

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