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Antiwar Protests Rock South Korea

by stop the war Monday, Aug. 16, 2004 at 9:05 AM

More than 10,000 Korean antiwar protesters marched on the US embassy in Seoul Aug. 15, 2004, demanding an end to the US occupation of Iraq. They also called for the total withdrawal of all South Korean troops from Iraq as well as the resignation of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun for having placed them there. The South Korean President has vowed to send up to 3,000 more troops to join the 600 already in Iraq. The South Korean government has placed a total news blackout on the story of sending additional troops to Iraq, citing a law to protect military secrets as justification. The government warned it would punish any media outlet that violated the ban.

Antiwar Protests Roc...
korea_protest.jpg, image/jpeg, 815x552

The antiwar protestors were blocked from reaching the US embassy by 7,200 riot police, who used police buses to surround the embassy and barracade the streets. From atop the buses the police attacked the protestors with tear gas, and water cannon. "We oppose sending troops to Iraq," protesters shouted. "Withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea. President Roh Moo-hyun, Step down."

Demonstrators tore apart a huge US flag they held overhead near the U.S. embassy. After being drenched in police tear gas and water cannon, the anti-imperialist marchers scuffled with heavily armed police in hand to hand battles on the streets.

The antiwar rally also marked 59 years since the smashing of Japanese imperialism and the end of Japan's colonization of Korea. That fact was not lost on the demonstrators... who now see Japanese troops operating in Iraq as part of the so-called "coalition of the willing" (Photo by Lee Jae-Won/Reuters)
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