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`Masan Protest Was Starting Point of Korean Democracy`

Posted March. 16, 2010 09:10,   


President Lee Myung-bak yesterday said the March 15, 1960 protest against election corruption in Masan, South Gyeongsang Province, was the starting point of Korean democracy.

In a commemorative address read by Patriots and Veterans Affairs Minister Kim Yang at a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the resistance movement against the Rhee Syng-man government in Masan, President Lee said, “The March 15 movement was the starting point of Korea’s democracy. “

Attending the event were around 1,000 people including pro-democracy movement organization members, participants of the movement, the heads of government offices and students.

“The noble values of freedom, democracy and justice grew into the April 19 (1960) Revolution, caused the Busan-Masan resistance movement, and became a milestone of Korean democracy. I believe the spirit of democracy and industrialization that emerged from Masan will help Korea become a nation of democracy and prosperity,” the president said.

March 15 has been designated a national anniversary this year. The ceremony was hosted by the government for the first time after being hosted by the Society 3.15 Movement for Democracy for several decades.

Baek Han-gi, chairman of the organization, said, “The March 15 movement was Korea’s first democratization movement and the driving force of Korean democracy. Under the movement, Koreans fought for freedom, democracy and justice. It is our mission to remember and commemorate their spirit of resistance.”

A congratulatory message from South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Tae-ho came afterwards, followed by a poem reading by Gyeongnam Women’s Literary Circle Chairwoman Kim Myeong-hee and a March 15 movement song sung by participants.

After the ceremony, Gov. Kim, Minister Kim and lawmakers headed for the March 15 National Cemetery and placed flowers on the graves of deceased resistance fighters.

manman@donga.com koh@donga.com