Engagement 1: Protests at the palace gates

My first engagement was at Guanghamun: the gates of the old palace where the Joseon dynasty royal family used to reside. Naturally, they weren’t there to protest a long fallen dynasty but simply because that seems to have become one of the established places to protest in South Korea. Simply being present at the event was perhaps the most insightful part of this all with posters being found saying “death to the traitors” calling (presumably) the governing party the “Satan group” (all of this naturally in Korean. These are just my translations). There were even photos of politicians the protest opposed on the ground for people to stamp on. As far as statements by the protestors themselves went, there seemed to be quite a variety of sentiments. A major component seemed to be fear about communists taking over the South. With one male protestor who looked to be in about his 20s said that if the country turns to the Commuist party there will be no freedom and that a lot of people died in the past. There also seemed to be a heavy Christian sentiment as the protest was led by a pastor and the same protestor just mentioned said that any statement about Rhee Seung Man founding the country based on Christian values is absolutely right. There were other concerns across the protestors however going from about the economy to about national security and not everyone seemed to buy into the hard right wing Christian narrative.

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Perhaps the most interesting thing however is the small, police guarded, left wing protest within the midst of the large protest which would be something I’d look into more later

 

 

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