On August 14, Veterans For Peace members Bruce Gagnon and Will Griffin – on a 3-week peace tour in South Korea – joined a mass demonstration against the U.S.’ decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea.
Below is Bruce Gagnon’s report, reposted from his blog Organizing Notes and videos of highlights from protests in Seoul, courtesy of Will Griffin.
Will Griffin and I attended [two large-scale peace actions on August 14].
One was a large peace march in front of the US Yongsan military base in downtown Seoul. The primary issues addressed in the preceding rally and march were continual Pentagon war exercises in Korea, THAAD deployment by the Pentagon and the recent visit by the U.S. Navy Vice-Admiral, who commands the ‘missile defense’ (MD) program. The Vice-Admiral came to South Korea and said that the THAAD would not be integrated into the US’ MD program but instead would be a stand-alone system and would only be aimed at North Korea, not China.
The US has been telling similar lies about the MD deployments it has made in Turkey, Romania and Poland. In that case the US claims the MD systems in those countries are aimed at Iran not Russia. These are of course total fabrications.
The second thing that the Vice-Admiral said is that the radar’s electromagnetic radiation will not have any health impacts on the local population. The Pentagon refuses to do any health studies under public scrutiny. I’ll always remember the case in Cape Cod, Massachusetts where the people demanded that the state force the Pentagon to do a study about the early warning/MD radar there but the military has refused to do so. Why does the Pentagon refuse? Many people on Cape Cod have long maintained that their health has been affected by the radar. Particularly, they believe an increase in cancers is related to the radar.
(VFP joins protest in front of Yongsan Military Base, headquarters for U.S. Forces Korea; Video courtesy of Will Griffin)
Following the march in front of Yongsan we moved to a huge rally at the Seoul City Hall where 10,000 people gathered to protest against THAAD deployment in Seongju. I was honored to be able to speak to the audience and at the end of my brief talk I presented our next Keep Space for Peace Week poster to a representative from Seongju.
(VFP joins mass rally in Seoul against THAAD deployment; Video courtesy of Will Griffin)
By Bruce Gagnon
Bruce Gagnon is a member of Veterans for Peace and the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He also maintains his own blog called Organizing Notes and contributes as a writer for ZoominKorea.
Featured News & Articles
People across the U.S. mobilized on April 14-15 to demand an end to U.S. wars around the world. In dozens of cities, including New York, Oakland, Washington DC, and Atlanta, protesters rallied as part of the “Spring Action to End U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad.” In NYC, Korean Americans joined the action to express messages of solidarity and call for end to U.S. war threats in Korea.read more
April 16 marked the four-year anniversary of the Sewol Ferry Tragedy. This year, the South Korean government held its first official memorial for the three hundred four victims, who lost their lives in the 2014 disaster. 5,000 people including family members and high-level government officials attended the event to pay their respects.read more
Weekly News Roundup
On April 22, 80 people blocked two military vehicles carrying hazardous material from entering 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.read more