Protestors participate in a candle-lit rally in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang province, South Korea, March 15, 2017. (Xinhua/Liu Yun)
Residents living in Seongju and Gimchon in southeast South Korea, where the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is prepared to be deployed, rallied on Wednesday in different gatherings to protest against the deployment.
In Soseong-ri, a little mountain village in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang Province, just one hill away from the deployment site, over 200 residents gathered at about 2 p.m. local time to show their resolution to fight against THAAD deployment. Representatives from local society and religious groups gave speeches in front of protesters.
A Catholic priest said the South Korean government is not trust-worthy, only the people themselves can protect the peace and the life. He said he will be with the protesters and stay guarding the village until THAAD is retreated.
Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union vice chairman Park Hae-Chul said even a primary school student in Seongju County knew that THAAD is not capable of defending South Korea.
“It is an excuse made by the United States to monitor China and Russia. Park Geun-hye stepped down as president, but her decision is still followed by the government. We must protest until the end,” he added.
After the speeches, the local residents marched towards the entrance of deployment site. Despite the heavy security measures by the police, the protesters held posters reading “We will fight until last moment without regret” and “No THAAD, just peace”.
They reached the police blockade line at the entrance and were faced by more than 60 policemen. After shouting the anti-THAAD slogans, they left in peace.
At 7:30 p.m. local time, another protest was held in Gimchon, a city seven kilometers north of deployment site. The city has a population of 140,000, with its streets full of anti-THAAD banners.
It is the 207th candle vigil held in this city. Although the night is cold, over 100 people gathered in the city's train station square, including the old, women and students.
A 58-year-old market vendor said he came to protest because the THAAD will bring war threat to them and their peaceful life is gone. The radiation from the radar will also damage the environment and compromise the quality of local agriculture produce, he added.