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Candlelight Demonstrations Separate

Posted January. 05, 2003 22:51,   


Amidst the heated controversy among the netizens about the candlelight demonstration commemorating the two middle school students who crashed to death by a USFK armored vehicle, the two candlelight demonstrations were held separately for the first time on Saturday in Gwanghwamun.

The Middle School Students Countermeasures Committee held “Gwanghwamun candlelight march against forced demolition of commemoration demonstration tent” with 300 citizens at the rear of Gyobo Building at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

At that time, another candlelight demonstration led by Kim Ki-bo(31· Internet ID “Angma”) was held with 30 citizens and students. Kim announced a plan for independent candlelight demonstration on Friday, saying “I would like to choose different way from the Committee.”

The demonstrators sang along the songs such as “Morning Dew”, “In the Wilderness” and they came to the front one by one and gave their opinion. Kim explains the reasons for separation, saying “It was difficult to show various kinds of opinions because the protest led by the Committee reflects only one opinion.”

He also explained that he decided to hold it separately because the commemoration ceremony changed into Anti-U.S. protest due to the partial stand of the Committee.

He added that he had proposed an open discussion about the topics and methods of candlelight demonstration to the Committee.

The police mobilized 5,300 men for the possible violent situation, but there was not big collision with the demonstrators.

The Committee said, “We try to march to the Sejong Center for Performing Arts and join the demonstrators led by Kim, but we couldn’t due to the police blockade.” Both demonstrations were held for two hours from 6p.m, and broke up at similar time.

The president of the Committee Kim Jong-il said, “We will embrace the recent opposite opinion of some netizens and separated demonstration.” He also emphasized that the candlelight demonstration will be continued until their three requests of SOFA revision, punishment for the two US soldiers and official apology are accepted.

The Committee planned to hold candlelight demonstration in the afternoon everyday, and to have a large-scaled candlelight demonstration once a month. On the other hand, Kim will allegedly make a detailed plan such as demonstration schedules after gathering the opinions of netizens.

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com