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A protest in Jeju. Photo: Chris Jung/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jeju, South Korea — The arrival of 550-plus asylum seekers from war-torn Yemen earlier this year on South Korea's Jeju island has sparked online outcry and protests on the island, as well as the capital, Seoul.

What they're saying: "I don't want the government to accept refugees at all, especially those from Muslim countries,” said a 38-year-old protester in Seoul who refused to give his name. “Their culture and religion are very different from us. I don't want to see this bad religion in our country where our children will grow up and it will bring harm to them."

A rise in fake stories and anti-Islam propaganda online has spurred on the protesters but, according to Il Lee, a human rights lawyer, the anti-refugee sentiment is not new in Korea. There are also worries that the spread of false information is going unnoticed and the government's apparent lack of involvement in the matter has failed to calm down the situation.

  • "There is a strong phenomenon in Korea that people blame foreigners for everything that goes wrong," said Lee. "But when it comes to the Yemeni asylum seekers, there is a strong anti-Islam sentiment.”
  • In an interview with Al Jazeera, Choo Mi-ae, chief of Korea's ruling party, admitted there was “lack of understanding and room for improvement.” She added that “the Korean public didn't have many opportunities to encounter cultural diversity.”
  • Jeju has a population of around 600,000 and a recent survey of 500 islanders revealed 90% felt insecure about going outside since the Yemenis' arrival.

Go deeper

Capitol repairs, security top $30M since Jan. 6 attacks

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton on Wednesday said that repairs and security expenses related to the Jan. 6 insurrection have already cost more than $30 million.

The state of play: Congressional appropriations committees have allocated the $30 million for repairs and perimeter fencing around the Capitol building through March 31, per NPR.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

White House stands by imperiled Tanden nomination after Senate panel postpones hearing

Neera Tanden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is postponing a confirmation hearing scheduled Wednesday for Neera Tanden, Axios has learned, a potential death knell for President Biden's nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

The latest: Asked Wednesday afternoon whether Tanden has offered to withdraw her nomination, Psaki told reporters, "That’s not the stage we’re in." She noted that it's a "numbers game" and a "matter of getting one Republican" to support the nomination.

Acting Capitol Police chief: Officers were unsure of lethal force rules on Jan. 6

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman wrote in prepared remarks for a House hearing on Thursday that officers in her department were "unsure of when to use lethal force" during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: Capitol Police did deploy lethal force on Jan. 6 — shooting and killing 35-year-old Ashli Babbit — but have faced questions over why officers appeared to be less forceful against pro-Trump rioters than participants in previous demonstrations, including those over Black Lives Matter and now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.