One vigil too manyCandlelight vigils paralyzed traffic in downtown Seoul for several hours over the weekend, and a group of protesters used violence against the police.
Protesters committed many illegal acts during the vigils.
Since early last month, more than 50 candlelight vigils have taken place in downtown Seoul. They began characterized by innocence, voluntary participation and non-violence, which gained public support.
As a result of the vigils, the agreement between Korea and the United States regarding U.S. beef imports has changed. Protests have also contributed to securing food safety for Koreans. People raised serious questions about the way President Lee Myung-bak runs the country, which led to many results.
President Lee made a grave apology, the top presidential aides were comprehensively reshuffled and the cabinet will be overhauled. The president said that he would make every effort to improve his holier-than-thou attitude and recognized that there was a severe lack of communication with the people. Is this not enough?
Approximately 150 members of Daum’s Agora online community illegally occupied the city center and wrecked a riot police bus during the weekend’s protest.
The police used fire extinguishers to break up the crowd. A protester who tried to set fire to the police bus was taken into custody. A police officer’s nose was broken by a water bottle thrown by a protester, and 12 protesters were arrested.
Nearly 100 flags from organizations having no relevance to U.S. beef imports were fluttering in the wind. It was the biggest number ever among recent rallies. In this regard, we cast doubt on the rally’s voluntary spirit and innocence.
It is improper to resolve controversial national issues by holding candlelight vigils and using protests to make sure one’s suggestions are heard by others.
Impending issues should be dealt with by lawmakers who represent people’s opinions.
Public authority symbolized by the police should also serve its proper role. There is a limit to citizens’ patience when they have to go through all these inconveniences. If a state does not protect its own laws, it is not a state any longer.
A democratic society should recognize the importance of freedom of expression as much as possible.
However, it should be done without interfering with the freedoms and rights of the rest of the nation.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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