Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in the progressive online media <Voice of People> on Nov. 5, 2011 about anti-Korea-US FTA that took place in Seoul. Korea-US FTA has become a thorny issue recently due to a number of toxic installations that have not be publicized much so far. With their recent publicity, however, anti-Korea-US FTA sentiment has been soaring and gaining momentum now. All rights of this post stay with the author of original article and this post will be scrapped immediately at their request. Original article (in Korean) of this post will be located by following the link at the bottom.
Young people at candlelight rally, “I didn’t know our country was this pathetic”
(Photo by Cheol-soo Kim)
As the confrontation between ruling and opposition parties intensifies in National Assembly surrounding the Korea-US FTA ratification, huge number of citizens turn up in an anti-Korea-US FTA candlelight rally in front of Daehanmun, Taepyoung-ro, Seoul, requesting to stop the ratification in Nov.5 evening. Some participants are even shouting slogans behind the stage vehicle.
Roars of about 5,000 angry protesters demanding ‘halt the Korea-US FTA’ rippled around the city hall square. Citizens gathered where the roars started and the area before Daehanmun was soon fully packed with citizens.
The ground before the stage of anti-Korea-US FTA candlelight assembly being overcrowded with participants, even tens of citizens were watching the rally behind the stage in Nov. 5.
Among them were a couple Ms. Lee (26) and Mr. Lee (37) watching the candlelight assembly crossing their arms intimately. When the reporter approached them, they asked “Why the ground is wet? Did they fire water cannons?” and looked around as if they forgot about yesterday’s rain.
The couple who said to join the candlelight rally belatedly after dinner said “we thought it would be a nice chance to step on the city hall square but it’s disappointing that the square is blocked. We feel really sorry that the place is so small.” They then asked “we saw 8 o’clock news before coming here but they never mentioned anything about this rally. Please write a good news of this rally.”
Ms. So-hui Ha (20) and Ms. Kyoung-min Kim (20) were watching the candlelight rally behind the stage where they could only watch the back of speaker’s head holding pickets that read like ‘Don’t deal our futures’ or ‘Lee Myung-bak OUT’ with their hands. Ms. Ha explained “I was sightseeing Seoul with my friend who came from Daegu today. We were around Gwanghwamun and overheard the sounds of candlelight rally there. We came here out of curiosity.”
They moved to before Daehanmun after 1 hour since candlelight rally had started but could not sit with other ralliers and stood behind the stage for almost 1 hour listening to the speakers. Ms. Ha said “they said to us to sit down when we moved to the front. But it was a little uncomfortable to sit down so we are standing here.”
Ms. Ha said she was not much interested in politics usually and just passed by any placards about Korea-US FTA when she noticed them while walking streets. But she expressed her sour feelings “coming here and hearing what they say made me bitter and even enraged. How come a country can be this pathetic? Now, I am an adult and I think I need to know about politics too.”
Ms. Kim who came from Daegu said “It’s amazing to see an actual protest. Before, I saw them only on TV. They are all saying right things but politicians do not seem to listen to people’s opinions.” Ms. Ha next to her also said “protesters on TV were sometimes crying and, seeing them in person, I can understand them now.”
Ms. Ha, a college freshman, spoke about the college students who came up the stage and made speeches, “many students seemed to take part in the rally. They looked very brave to even make speeches on the stage. Although I could not vote in the Seoul mayoral by-election this time since I was not eligible to vote, I would pay more attention from now on since I can elect a president in next year’s presidential election.” She also added that she would try to participate in more rallies.
- Original article (in Korean) can be located in the following link: 촛불집회 보던 젊은이들 “우리나라가 이렇게 한심한 줄 물랐다”