On April 22, 80 people, including residents of Seongju and Gimcheon, and Won Buddhists blocked two military vehicles carrying hazardous material from entering the former Lotte golf course, which is now the deployment site for the U.S. THAAD missile defense system. The protesters stood their ground for six hours to stop the vehicles from crossing Jinbat Bridge to the deployment site. Military authorities had no choice but to withdraw the vehicles and turn away from the deployment site.

(Video source: PSPD 참여연대)

Video Transcript:

00:00 – 00:10

On the Jinbat Bridge of Soseong-ri, Seongju (the road that leads to the THAAD deployment site)

Won Buddhist ministers leading a prayer: “We pray with all our hearts for the THAAD war weapon to go away and for abundant peace to come to this whole world…”

00:11 – 00:23

Police broadcasting announcement: “Citizens, you are blocking the entry of a vehicle of government officials, therefore you are interfering in a justified administration of government duty. We are warning that you can be punished.”

00:23 – 00:27

Residents, religious people, peacekeepers put their bodies on the line to block THAAD-related vehicles from entering.

00:28 – 00:33

Soldiers, police and all equipment related to the THAAD deployment- leave this village!

Military vehicles — turn back immediately;

And please help us in calling the Defense Ministry to complain and tell them to stop the forced deployment of the THAAD system!

During the protest on Saturday April 22, the Seongju Struggle Committee condemned the United States Forces Korea (USFK) and the South Korean government for rushing to begin construction of the THAAD base even before completing the necessary prerequisite steps — “It is illegal to bring in construction-related material when the results of the environmental impact assessment have yet to come out.”

On April 20, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the South Korean government had handed over the former Lotte Skyhill Golf Course to the United States Forces Korea. The USFK is proceeding with preparations for the THAAD deployment. On the same day, U.S. military personnel were seen driving construction vehicles through Soseong-ri Village into the deployment site. Thirty residents and Won Buddhists attempted to block two vehicles from entering but were unsuccessful. The South Korean police disrupted the peaceful protest of the residents and created a path for the vehicles to enter the deployment site. The confrontation between the residents and the riot police lasted two hours. The police used excessive force against protesters and arrested two residents.

(Video source: NocutV)

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