Hundreds of South Korean residents and peace activists clashed with police Wednesday beside the entrance to the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) site at Soseong-ri village as Seoul tried to deploy additional THAAD elements.
"Go away, violent police. Block THAAD to the end." The slogan echoed through the once peaceful village of Soseong-ri in southeast of South Korea all night until Thursday morning.
Shouting, yelling and screaming never stopped as thousands of policemen violently dispersed peace activists and residents living near the site of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.
Seoul's defense ministry said the remaining THAAD elements and other construction equipment would be delivered to the former golf course at Soseong-ri village in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province within Thursday.
The ministry's announcement was made at 5:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday (0830 GMT). The government under President Moon Jae-in had said the further deployment would be notified of the villagers at least a day earlier.
Beginning from midnight, six and a half hours after the announcement, police launched the maneuver to break up the anti-THAAD protesters by force. About 8,000 riot policemen were mobilized to disperse some 400 residents and peace activists, according to local media reports.
The queue of police bus began from a location about 4 km away from the village hall of Soseong-ri, beside which anti-THAAD civilians had taken turns to block the sole entrance to the U.S. missile shield site.
Multiple police checkpoints were set up along the queue to prevent volunteers hoping to join the anti-THAAD sit-in from approaching the village house.
The access road to Soseong-ri, some 2 km away from the village hall, was blockaded with farm machines, passenger cars and trucks. It was aimed to impede the transportation of the remaining THAAD elements to the site.
Right beside the village hall, the two-lane entrance road to the THAAD site was also packed with trucks and vehicles.
One of the trucks at the forefront of the sit-in lines was linked to thick chains, which were hung around the necks of a couple of civilians. If police forcibly removed the truck, they might have been put in danger of death.
During the tussle between police and the protesters, tens of people were injured and taken to a nearby hospital. The vehicles blockading the access road were towed away one by one.
"Please stop just for 30 minutes. There is someone hurt in the head," shouted one of the protesters with an urgent voice. Another said one Soseong-ri granny got hurt on her head.
Violent suppression continued. One granny cried out in front of the wall of policemen, saying with a resentful voice: "How could the president do this to people? Why does (he) make people hurt severely? I cannot live with THAAD."
Soseong-ri was once a tranquil, peaceful village with a population of under 200, mostly those in their 70s and 80s. The village has been transformed into a battlefield, standing at the forefront of fight against the U.S. war weapon.
On April 26, two mobile launchers and other THAAD elements were transported in the middle of night to Soseong-ri under the previous Park Geun-hye government. During the physical clash with the police caused by the nighttime delivery, several protesters were wounded.