Reports say 5,000 protesting in Kim Il Sung Square

Reports from North Korea say that as many as 5,000 people are protesting in Kim Il Sung Square in the communist country following the Feb. 25 release of a radiation cloud.

Anatoly Petrov, a freelance Russian journalist who was in the country when the incident occurred, has told INN that the people are protesting for reform and better living conditions in the controlled economy nation that has suffered from food shortages since the devastating famine of the early 1990s.

The crowd is also expressing displeasure at a weak reaction to the nuclear radiation disaster.

The crowds, Petrov said, seem to be growing.

Crowds of even 100 people gathered unofficially are rare in North Korea, a tightly controlled culture. About an hour after the release, a crowd numbering in the hundreds gathered to protest.

Just last week, North Korea formed a new force designed to keep spontaneous protests muted. But, Petrov said that police in the square seemed to be making half-hearted attempts to keep the crowd in check.

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