중앙데일리

Anti-U.S. activists lead protests

June 28,2008
Han Sang-ryeol
The increasingly violent protests against the resumption of U.S. beef imports are masterminded by professional anti-U.S. activists, the conservative governing Grand National Party said yesterday.
The GNP singled out well-known progressive activists by names
Hong Joon-pyo, floor leader of the Grand National Party, said yesterday that behind-the-scenes instigators want to use the rallies to stir up anti-American sentiment and oust President Lee Myung-bak. He said the Korea Alliance for Progressive Movement, established last September, is the architect of the protests.
Oh Chong-ryol and Han Sang-ryeol, the co-chairmen of the civic group, as well as Park Seok-un, another senior leader, were singled out by Hong as ringleaders.
Oh, 70, who used to teach at Jeonnam Girls’ High School, is a well-known anti-U.S. activist. He is also a leader of the alliance of civic groups that oppose the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement as well as other anti-American measures.
Han, 58, whose career as an activist began as the student association president of Chonbuk National University, is famous for leading protests to demand the withdrawal of the U.S. forces from Korea.
One of the high-profile protests took place in 2005 when he and thousands of progressives clashed with conservatives as they attempted to forcibly remove a statute of General Douglas MacArthur from its site in Incheon. That was the location where the U.S. military leader and UN troops landed to break North Korea’s hold on most of the peninsula in 1950 during the Korean War.
While the street rally organizer People’s Conference Against Mad Cow Disease includes a wide range of 1,700 civic groups including the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the Democratic Labor Party, the actual core is the extreme leftist Korea Alliance for Progressive Movement, Hong said.

Oh Chong-ryol
Calling the civic group “hardcore anti-American” Hong said, “it is an organization that regards anti-Americanism as its religion.”
Hong said the anti-U.S. group has changed its names, but its key members have remained in place. “Among the anti-U.S. activities led by them in the past were the movement to abolish the National Security Law, withdrawal of U.S. military forces, shutdown of the military bombing range in Maehyangri, protest against the expansion of U.S. military base in Pyeongtaek and more,” Hong said.
Hong also criticized co-chairmen Oh and Hong for instigating a series of public protests against the United States. “They led the anti-U.S. rallies after two school girls’ death during a U.S. military exercise,” Hong said.
Hong said the co-chairmen’s anti-U.S. argument is sugarcoated with the justification of “people’s right to health,” adding that “I worry that candles will disappear from the streets and only political flags will be hoisted at the weekend rallies.”
The opposition United Democratic Party criticized Hong’s remarks for “splitting the people by prompting ideology debates to oppress political opponents.”
“The government and the governing party must stop the conspiracy, which used the obsolete Red Scare,” Cha Young, spokeswoman of the UDP, said. “The people will never surrender their freedom of the past decade.”


By Ser Myo-ja Staff Reporter [myoja@joongang.co.kr]



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