“Angry Korean People”, the history of protests

Anti-Japanese, anti-American, anti-new government, Korea has always been a land of protest. It is claimed that every year the number of protests and demonstrations average 11,000 while large-scale deployments of riot police average 85. A humiliating history of colonization and a strong sense of crisis have created “angry Koreans”.

1997 January 11. Ulsan, Korea. A 34-year-old Hyundai Automobile Company employee sets himself on fire in front of riot police, protesting the implementation of a new labor law, ultimately causing 90% burns to his body. The protestors participating in the strike believed that the new labor law gives employers even more power, allowing them to dismiss workers, employ temporary workers, and refuse to join the strikers. This strike mobilized 3 million workers, stopping production of automobiles, ship-building, and other major industries; The strike also interrupted television news transmissions, and interrupted hospital and subway services.

1998 December 23. Seoul, Korea. Over 1000 riot police participating in an operation to storm and capture a Buddhist temple attempting to remove over 100 monks were met with intense counterattacks. The “rebel” monks were in conflict with another faction over the management of millions of dollars in Buddhism funds, and the opposition expelled them out of the temple and occupied it. Left photo: A monk holding a knife stands on the balcony, claiming that if police continue the assault he would commit suicide on the spot. Right photo: Police using ladders to storm [the temple] are foiled, with many falling from the heights.

2001 November 18. Seoul, Korea. Over 10,000 workers rallied to protest the government’s industrial restructuring and reduction of workers rest days program. A model of a government leader’s head was suspended at the site of the event. Right photo: 1995 May 14, in front of the Financial Supervisory Commission in Seoul, Korea, an insurance company office worker makes an obscene gesture, participating in a demonstration protesting the government’s economic restructuring plan.

2002 March 15. Seoul, Korea. A protester uses a propane gas tank to spew fire at riot police. Over 400 self-claimed decommissioned spies who were recruited by the intelligence department and trained to infiltrate North Korea staged a demonstration, demanding that the government give them compensation. Since the last 1990s, 13,000 Koreans have received secret training; Up to the 1970s, over 7000 people have entered North Korea carrying out secret missions. Because they are still subject to government monitoring after being decommissioned, these former spies have difficulty finding work, and most of them are in hardship.

2002 November 13. Seoul, Korea. At a campaign rally, Millennium Democratic Party presidential candidate Roh Moo-hyun encountered a parade of farmers demanding that the government protect the domestic agricultural product market, and an egg thrown by demonstrators just happened to hit Roh Moo-hyun in the face. At the time, the presidential candidates all refused to have accompanying bodyguards ruin their image of being close to the people, and so Roh Moo-hyun suffered this embarrassing “egg in the face” moment.

Left photo: 2003 April 2. Seoul, Korea. A large group of protestors clash with riot police, protesting the Roh Moo-hyun Administration deploying medical and engineering personnel to Iraq. Right photo: 2004 November 19. Seoul, Korea. A demonstrator braving riot police water cannons to advance on the Presidential Office, protesting the government signing a rice free trade agreement.

2004 August 15. In front of the American Embassy in Seoul, Korea. Protesters tear up a large American national flag. That day, over 10,000 people held a demonstration, demanding the withdrawal of troops stationed in Korea and urging then Korean President Roh Moo-hyun cancel the order to send over 3000 Korean soldiers to Iraq to provide aid and reconstruction.

2004 March 22. Seoul, Korea. A Korean young man climbed to the top of a 16-story building near the United States Embassy and jumped off after a 4-hour stalemate with police, but fortunately falling onto an air cushion that was already laid our thereby only suffering light injuries. Police said that this young man had applied for a visa at the American embassy in Korea but had been refused a visa and it was probably because of his emotional distress over this that he took such drastic action.

South Korea and the United States have very close diplomatic relations, and the United States has many military bases in Korea. After the en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwangju_Democratization_Movement, the United States was accused of tacitly supporting the former military dictatorship, and anti-American sentiments amongst Koreans gradually spread. Photo is of 2007 May in Incheon, Korea, where protestors opposing the United States stationing troops in Incheon took a two-month old little pig and quartered it.

Although Korea and Japan are both allies of the United States, Korean-Japanese relations are tense due to the era of colonialism, World War II, and other historical issues. 1910 August, Japan forced the Greater Korean Empire to sign the “Japan-Korean Annexation Treaty”, formally annexing the Korean peninsula, and beginning up to 35 years of colonial rule. Photo is of 2001 August 13 in Seoul, Korea, where 20 Korean young men cut off their little finger in front of an audience, protesting then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s decision to visit the www.chinasmack.com/2008/stories/yasukuni-shrine-website-hack.

2007 March 1. Seoul, Korea. A decommissioned spy placed 5 dog heads in front of the Japanese Embassy, to symbolize those traitors who supported Japanese colonial rule and to commemorate the 88th year of the en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_1st_Movement. 1919 March 1, the Korean peninsula exploded in a patriotic movement opposing Japanese colonial rule and fighting for national independence and freedom. The anti-Japanese struggle that started from this event lasted until the end of June where it was ultimately suppressed by Japan. Afterward, Japan’s rule of the Korean peninsula was changed to the mollifying “cultural policy”.

2006 April 19. Seoul, Korea. A protester stabs his own stomach in public in front of the March 1st Movement Monument, protesting Japan’s plans to conduct oceanographic research in the disputed waters of the en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liancourt_Rocks.

2006 May 2. Seoul, Korea. A local beekeeper stands on a Japanese national flag, using 187,000 bees covering his body to represent the 187,000 square meters of Dokdo (Japanese Takeshima), protesting Japanese claims of sovereignty over the islands. There is a territorial dispute between Korea and Japan, a small island that Korea calls Dokdo and the Japanese call Takeshima. Korea and Japan both claim sovereignty, and the Korean people hold protests and demonstrations over this matter.

2007 July 13. Seoul, Korea. A Korean farmer throws cow dung at a supermarket counter selling American beef, opposing Korea resuming importation of American beef. Korea was one of the major export markets for American beef but after 2003 December when mad cow disease was discovered in the United States, Kora basically stopped imports of American beef. This ban was not lifted until 2007 June.

2008 December 18. Seoul, Korea. Korean opposition party members use hammers to smash open the Parliamentary Committee’s doors, protesting the ruling Grand National Party’s plan to sign a free trade agreement with the United States. A melee broke out in the Parliament building, with the Grand National Party using furniture to bloke the main entrance, and using fire extinguishers in defense.

2011 July 26. Seoul, Korea. Several dairy farmers wearing mourning clothes lit a coffin on fire and poured milk on their bodies, demanding that the government increase dairy prices. The Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement was approved by the United States Congress on the 12th, but the for the agreement to formally come into effect still requires that it be passed by the Korean National Assembly. At present, the Korean side remains divided with supporters believing that the agreement will help Korea’s economic growth while opponents believe it will negatively affect Korea’s economic interests.

2006 June 24. Seoul, Korea. A football [soccer] fan drops his pants on the street to show his dissatisfaction. That day, during last round of the 2006 Germany World Cup group stage, the Swiss team defeated the South Korean team 2:0. Korean football fans used 4.2 million emails to “bomb” the World Cup official website, believing the Swiss team had a handball in the penalty zone and thus should have been ruled a penalty, and that the goal by Frei on the Swiss team should’ve been ruled offside.

from www.chinasmack.com/2011/pictures/angry-koreans-chinese-netiz