SEOUL, South Korea — A human rights group claimed Tuesday that it has obtained video footage showing dissident activities in North Korea, with demands for freedom and democracy written over a poster of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Il.
If authentic, it would be the first time images of dissent in the highly secretive North have come to light. But there was no way to independently confirm the validity of the footage.
The 35-minute videotape, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, shows written statements posted on a wall, urging North Koreans to fight to retrieve freedom and democracy.
A man is heard, but not seen, reading a statement, demanding Kim Jong Il be removed from his post. “The North Korean people are suffering from hunger and poverty because of Kim Jong Il’s dictatorship and dogmatic politics,” the man says.
The tape was delivered to the Seoul-based Citizen’s Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, and became public after the Coalition handed over the footage to an Internet news site that specializes on North Korean affairs.
The Coalition said the footage was taken by the Youth Solidarity for Freedom at a North Korean town near the border with China.
The Kim family has ruled North Korea for more than a half century, creating a powerful personality cult. Portraits of Kim and his father hang side-by-side on the walls of every house.
Recently, however, observers of the world’s most reclusive regime have noted possible signs of subtle cracks in Kim’s grip on power.