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Candlelight Rallies Mobilize Participants, Causing Criticism

Candlelight Rallies Mobilize Participants, Causing Criticism

Posted March. 21, 2004 22:58,   


Candlelight rallies against the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun were held in Gwanghwamun, downtown Seoul, last Saturday when an estimated 130 thousand flocked together to this area, while protests supporting Roh’s impeachment were also held yesterday with an estimated 2,500 participants.

Conservative civic groups originally were scheduled to hold protests at the same day with the anti-impeachment groups, which had caused worry on possible clashes between the two groups. However, the worry was mitigated as the conservative groups decided on a one-day delay.

Pan-National Action for Liquidating Political Corruption and Nullifying the Impeachment (Pan-National Action), consisting of about 550 anti-impeachment civic groups, held candlelight rallies at 7:00 p.m. last Saturday titled: One Million People’s Protest for Nullification of Impeachment and Preservation of Democracy.

On that day, Chung Hyeon-baek, the head of the Pan-National Action, contended, “Let’s show a nation’s strong will for democracy.”

The performances of singers such as Shin Hae-chul, Ahn Chi-hwan, Cho PD, Gwon Jin-won, Chung Tae-chun, and Park Eun-ok were leading the protest, which can be interpreted that they are sensitive about recent questioning on the lawfulness of their actions.

At the same day across the nation, 40 local cities, including Busan, Gwangju, Daegu, Daejeon, and Cheongju, saw candlelight rallies with an estimated 15 thousand participants.

Meanwhile, the “Worldwide Anti-war Action on the 3.20 Iraq Invasions” was held at the same day in Daehangno where about 4,000 citizens and students participated. Some of them moved to Gwanhwamun to join the anti-impeachment rally after finishing this at 5:00 p.m.

The police blockaded roads with 260 police buses and deployed 8,000 policemen out of 79 companies in this area in order to prevent any possible accidents. Also, officials of the National Election Commission were dispatched into every corner of this area to monitor whether or not rally participants violated election law. They also collected evidence such as phrases and scenes which might be sources of proof of violations.

“National Ally Supporting President Roh Moo-hyun’s Impeachment,” consisting of 369 conservative civic groups including the “Citizens’ Ally Protesting Against Nuclear Initiative of North Korea” held a “Cultural Place to Support Impeachment’ in front of the Donghwa duty-free shop at Sejong crossroad, Seoul, yesterday at 2:00 p.m. Approximately 2,500 joined.

Participants shouted “Support Roh Moo-hyun’s Impeachment”; “Stop Biased Broadcasting,” and “Remove Pro-North Korea and Left-wing figures.”

Lee Ki-gwon, the president of Civic Groups for Preserving Sovereignty said, “We delayed the rally from Saturday to Sunday to prevent unnecessary clashes with participants of illegal candlelight protests.”