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    Posted November 18, 2013 by
    oglim

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    S. Korean Government Interferes with Presidential Election and Now the Surrounding Protests

     

    In the evening of Friday, November 15, 2013 South Koreans and Korean-Americans started gathering in front of the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Times Square in New York City. We were coming together in protest against the South Korean state agencies' intervention in last December's presidential election in South Korea. Many of us traveled from other cities to be there. Some came from New Haven, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles. I took a bus from Boston, Massachusetts to join the rally.

     

    Our group held signs such as "Stop the Spread of McCarthyism!", "Democracy Dying in S. Korea!" and "S. Korean Democracy is Under Attack. OUST Park Geun-Hye!", just to name a few. The group marched from Times Square to Korean Town. We chanted all the way, "Oust Park Geun-Hye", "dissolve the NIS", "out, out, Park Geun-Hye", and "down, down, NIS”. Many onlookers cheered us on and some even chanted with us. There were some Americans who marched with us, chanting to show us their support as well. As we reached Korean Town more people joined us and a couple hundred of us held a candle-light vigil.

    There has been enough evidence proving that last year's presidential election in South Korea was totally fraudulent. State agencies such as the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Army Cyber Warfare Command meddled in the election by having their agents post possibly many hundreds of thousands of messages online in favor of the ruling party's candidate and current president, Park Geun-Hye, and slandering the opposition candidates. Park's administration has bluntly been denying all allegations even with evidence proving otherwise. The illegal acts that they committed in the presidential election are serious crimes, but the worst of it is the cover-up, the investigation tampering, and the pressure to the investigation team by the current administration to obstruct its progress.

    A fraudulent election is not a legitimate election and an elected president through an illegitimate election is not a legitimate president. This election was indeed a serious crime that had been carefully planned ahead and committed by the government, ruling party, and state agencies together. So far nobody has been held accountable or has come forward to take responsibility. The former head of the NIS and the former head of the Seoul Metropolitan Police have been indicted. However, the prosecutors working to uncover the truth have been fired and replaced with people from Park's inner circle. Citizens, political parties, and religious leaders home and abroad who are frustrated and angry have been holding numerous protests and candle-light vigils over the past few months. They are demanding a thorough investigation by introducing an independent counsel and any party that is proven guilty be punished.

    Unfortunately during this Friday's protest some uninvited guests showed up. A group of extreme right-wing conservatives made their presence known by attempting to intimidate us out of protesting. The group consisted of approximately 20 people, mostly old men and a few women in their 60s and 70s, and many of them were in military uniforms. They came to interfere with our peaceful protest as they had done during many previous protests. They brought a number of huge banners and stood in front of our group holding those to block us from being seen by passersby. They shouted at us, "These communists! Go to North Korea!” They used violent language and even tried to exercise physical violence towards a few female protesters. One old woman actually cursed at me and tried to hit me when I tried to take photographs of the scene. A man from a similar group during a previous protest had been videotaped, stating that each person had been paid $100 per protest. These people are allegedly organized by the Korean Veterans Association with funding from the NIS in an attempt to obstruct protests by citizens.

     

    Freedom of assembly and association is guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States. It is a violation of the Constitution if the South Korean government attempts to ban or interfere with any peaceful rally or protest. There was a time in the 60's through the 80's in South Korea when the government could do that. In the darkest era in the South Korean history when the country was ruled by military dictators, such as the father of the current president, the government arrested, tortured, and even executed any political dissent, mostly even without any proper legal procedure.

     

    Last week a lawmaker from the ruling party, Kim Jin-Tae, who accompanied Park Geun-Hye on her European tour wrote on his facebook about the protest held by South Korean residing in Paris against Park. He said "Photographs of the protesters have been taken and I will make the protesters pay the high price for their actions!" He had worked as a public prosecutor before he entered the Parliament. Kim Jin-Tae seems to think he is above the law and he can treat people unconstitutionally. His actions speak against the spirit of Democracy and the freedom of expression. This may be a clear sign that democracy is truly dying in South Korea.

     

     

     

    All photographs were taken by Eunjung Kang

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