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Red Waves Erupt Nationwide

Posted June. 18, 2002 23:00,   


All Koreans became ‘red devils’ for their team`s second-round World Cup match against Italy on June 18. People from all walks of life, clad in red shirts, took to the street from early in the morning.

The police estimated that up to 4 million supporters joined street cheering nationwide, wishing their national team to advance into the quarterfinals. In Busan, people gathered before giant screens set up in 7 outdoor cheering places – Sajik Baseball Stadium and Gudeok Stadium were added to three favorite spots, Asiad Main Stadium, Busan Station Square and Haewoondae Beach. Some 300,000 people rooted for their team throughout the streets of the major port city.

Jinju Branch of Gyeongnam Civil Servants Union also set up a large screen at the central square and began fanning the heat through dancing and cheering leading performances even two hours before the match. Gyeongbuk area also reported a sea of people gathered before large screens from Pohang through Ulreung-do. 160,000 red-don people were estimated to come out to join outdoor cheering at 34 spots in the region.

Gwangju also witnessed the largest assembly of people since the May 18 movement in 1980 as 50,000 citizens were in place in the square of Cheonnam government office in Geumnam-ro. The region’s baseball team Kia Tigers was no exception in rooting for the national soccer team. Head coach Kim Sung-han and star player Lee Jong-bum delivered a 10 minute-long video message via a giant screen.

Throughout Gyeonggi-do, 544,000 took to the street including some 20,000 in Suwon Stadium, 30,000 in Joongang Park and 25,000 in Sungnam Stadium. The crowds of supporters gathered in 22 spots across Gwangwon-do reached 100,000 all told. Red-clad supporters turned up in Samcheondong drive-in theater in Chuncheon, Roanok Square in Wonju, Imdangdong Street of Culture in Kangreung, Sokcho Main Stadium and 12 other places.

Hong Sung-hul reporter (sungchul@donga.com)

In Jeju, major hotels such as Lotte, Hyatt and Shilla arranged outdoor screens for guests and employees, and offered complimentary drink. “I just couldn’t stay at home with my five-year-old daughter chanting ‘Daehanminguk (Korea)’ and ‘Pilseung Korea (Korea sure to win),” said Jwa (34) at Topdong Square in Jeju City. “It would be a great experience for my children to be a part of this becoming-one cheering.”

Meanwhile, Munsu World Cup Stadium was closed for some security reason before the June 21 match between Germany and the U.S., sending many wanting to see the day’s match over the giant screen to other places.