South Korea rejected around 400 Yemeni seeking refuge on Wednesday after they had arrived a few months prior to Jeju Island causing a wave of opposition in what many consider the first organized anti-asylum movement in Korea.
Protests swept the country in June demanding President Moon Jae-in to create tighter laws against refugees. A petition on the issue gained over 714,000 supporters, according to The New York Times.
South Korea is among the world’s most ethnically homogeneous nations, with foreigners comprising only four percent of the country’s population, most of which are from China and East Asia. Protesters in Jeju Island, Seoul and other parts of the country in June held slogans saying they wanted to “kick out refugees”, the newspaper reported.
Most foreign visitors can enter the island with no visa, which attracted asylum seekers to go ther, and then attempt to enter mainland South Korea.
The government had also rejected hundreds of Yemeni applications seeking asylum in April, all of whom had already arrived in Jeju as well.