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Jul. 23  2018
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Anti-war protest in Seoul draws thousands

March 21, nearly 15,000-20,000 marched to the American Embassy in central Seoul (directly in front of South Korea's main palace grounds).

Source  :  BASE21



By Dieter Kursietis and Jamie Doucette


March 21, nearly 15,000-20,000 marched to the American Embassy in central Seoul (directly in front of South Korea's main palace grounds). Participating along side the Korean demonstrators were foreign nationals from at least ten different countries, including the US. The rally started at 3 p.m. at Jongmyo Park, where speakers from various social groups and organizations expressed their arguments against and criticisms of the present American/British invasion of Iraq and of South Korea's decision to quietly support the attack.

The nation's new president Roh Moo-Hyun pledged to send up to 700 non-combat military engineers and medical support viewed as some as a slight turnaround from his less than positive stance towards America prior to election.

Feelings of resentment towards the US, already high amongst South Koreans owing to the deaths of two schoolgirls run over by an American military vehicle in June, heightened with the onset of sorties against Iraq. Moreover, as Bush has lumped North Korea together with Iraq (and Iran) as the "axis of evil" many Koreans fear American aggression in the Gulf may heighten tensions on the peninsula and furthermore that Bush may put North Korea next on his list.

Over 50 police busses and at least 7,000 conscripted riot police were used to police the march, blocking off Jongno, Seoul's main pedestrian artery, blocks away from the barricaded Embassy compound preventing protestors from continuing on their route.
Since the 9-11 attacks, conscripted police and riot busses have been steady fixtures encircling the American embassy in Seoul. One protestor commented that this section of downtown has become like a permanent police camp.

Despite the heavy security, about 1,000 activists managed to get within 100 metres of the embassy by charging up the back alleys behind the compound. During a number of small skirmishes university students held the line against the police thwarting their efforts to push the protesters back. There were no serious injuries.

Tensions continued for about 40 minutes as police brought in more buses to close off the alleys. Eventually the smaller group decided to rejoin the main vigil and rally.

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